Your brand tone of voice

Establishing your brand isn’t just about what you look like. It’s also about what you SOUND like.

Does your Twitter or Facebook account sound like your brand, ALL the time? Does it have the correct tone of voice?

It’s not the WHAT of a company but the WHO which informs brand tone of voice. People buy from people. Your brand tone of voice tells people what your values are and whether they want to buy from you. So you’d better make sure you get it right, across your website and all your social media channels. If you spend time creating helpful content so that your visitors want to stick around, and everything you publish is in your brand tone of voice, people will become familiar with it and eventually trust it. Once you have that trust, who will be the brand they choose when they are in the market to buy something new?

What’s the connection?

Maya Angelou said “People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they remember how you made them feel.”

That’s the connection you are aiming for. But you can’t just make up any old tone of voice and use it because it will make you sound trustworthy. A brand tone of voice is the expression of your company’s values as they stand today, not as you think other people might like them to be. Have you identified your brand values? Have you articulated the message you want to tell the world?

How do you speak in someone else’s tone of voice?

Establishing the right tone of voice for a social media account can be a big challenge for a social media manager when taking on a new client. A good social media manager will take some time to get to know the brand, do extensive research on the market, the company and into their target audience and ‘listen’ to them and their competitors on social media before creating a social media marketing strategy. This is why Socially Contented doesn’t create a marketing plan for at least a couple of weeks after taking on a new client. Doing this is just as important as getting the posts out there into the social stratosphere – get it wrong and you will constantly be sending out the wrong message and talking in the wrong brand voice. So we urge you not to allow yourselves to be rushed on this one.

Once you have established the right tone of voice, this should make it easier to find influencers who align with that tone of voice and who are going to help you establish your brand identity.

Brands doing it well with an established and recognisable tone of voice

The Economist’s style is classic British, a trademark style with a sense of humour. Their style guide asks for clear, easily understandable writing and quotes George Orwell:

Keep in mind George Orwell’s six elementary rules (“Politics and the English Language”, 1946):

  1. Never use a Metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do (see Short words).
  3. If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out (see Unnecessary words).
  4. Never use the Passivewhere you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a Jargonword if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous (see Iconoclasm).

Missguided, a fashion line,  uses a cheeky and conversational tone appealing to its younger target audience. They have fun with their brand tone of voice.

Coca Cola is one of the best known brands in the world and it’s no surprise that they are completely sure of their brand tone of voice, and also rather gifted in the creative department. Their brand tries to convey friendship and happiness, and the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign with names on the bottles/cans completely owned this concept. It’s interesting that they completely focus on experience – they want to evoke a feeling when you drink it but the feeling has nothing to do with taste.

All of these brands convey exactly the message they are putting across, and found the ideal voice to do it.

What’s your tone of voice, and how will you convey it? We’d love to hear.

And if you’d like to read more about brand identity, take a look here.