Finding your Brand’s Tone of Voice: How to Get Started

A noisy marketplace demands a unique and noticeable brand voice if you want to set your products apart from the competition.
Minnie Kasyoka

Minnie Kasyoka

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Whether you depend on digital or traditional communication mediums, the ability to establish a good brand image is crucial for effective product promotion. With a lot happening for businesses taking advantage of affordable advertising strategies such as blogs and email marketing, memorable branding is an even herculean task—one which is difficult to accomplish without a relevant and consistent tone of voice.

Effective marketing is no longer just a prompt squeeze of ad content during a Super Bowl Weekend and screaming presto! Considering the implosion of digital channels, product differentiation strategies are more likely to create a competitive and exceptional brand identity when you define and remain loyal to your tone of voice from the get go.

A noisy marketplace demands a unique and noticeable brand voice if you want to set your products apart from the competition. The communication approaches you take, as well as the core values you discuss, give your target audience a taste of your brand’s essence and an opportunity to decide if they want to buy from you. 

Apart from the capacity to integrate multiple communication channels easily, a consistent tone of voice also helps you to build trust with your primary consumers who will, going forward, know what to expect when they see your company logo or any other identifiers linked to your brand identity.

But how do you identify and maintain a brand tone of voice in the first place?

1. Emphasize core values and beliefs:

Think about what the founders and executive management talk about most of the time. How can you translate these organizational philosophies to your audience and create a parallel experience of what makes your company different? 

Is humor the best delivery mechanism, or are your target consumers more accustomed to smart and formal? 

Whichever tone of voice you swing, beware that customers care the most about honesty and they abhor snarky behavior.

2. Create a list of the perfect brand voices

Before you settle on an ideal tone of voice, you should probably outline and dissect existing choices using techniques like storyboarding. 

Remember that nearly half of social media users will unfollow you when you stop publishing relevant/appealing content. As such, you are inclined to get it right on the first attempt or you risk confusing the audience who expect an exemplary social CSR strategy together with a consistent utility of social colloquialisms or corporate jargon.

3. Ignore click baits

About 66 percent of interviewed social media users report developing negative perceptions about brands that lure them with paid content. Although paid ads can get you so far, in the long-run, without a clear, consistent and relevant brand tone of voice, your brand identity will be dead on arrival. 

Moreover, do not lie to grab the customer’s attention because you could lose them faster than you can say “conversion rate”. If you are running an annual sales event on TikTok, maintain uniformity in communication across every social media platform.

4. Monitor user engagement

More than 43% of consumer-to-brand interactions on social media revolve around your ability to respond to challenges or questions. Make sure you respond to queries while maintaining an ideal tone of voice, and watch how clients respond. Gathering and analyzing engagement data in real-time allows you to make real impressions and establish genuine, lasting relationships with consumers.

5. Discover places that add the greatest value to your brand’s tone

After defining your tone of voice and assessing user-engagement to ascertain likability, you have to optimize your brand identity for the best possible business outcomes.  Some of the best places to focus on are the replies section, your call to actions, private/direct messages, photo captions, and company bios.

 These are the areas where most of your communications will stand out and a significant proportion of consumers will encounter your digital strategies for the first time, so you have to make a good impression. No pressure!

 

To make your life easier, here are 5 brand tone of voice examples that can keep your users engaged:

1. Fun and Playful

If it suits your company’s mission, you can never go wrong with a Fun Brand. You get to be as weird as humanly possible, and profit off of the shock value that jokes tend to generate. Skittles is a formidable example of how brands can reach out to different consumer demographics using bad, playful puns. The company accompanies the humorous, energetic tone with bright and bold colors of their branding material. 

(Credit: Brafton)

 

2. Assertive

This tone of voice is ideal for companies whose products don’t go well with cheerful and playful vibes, like Ford and Harley Davidsons. If your consumer demographic is more on the adventurous side, then they will identify with a break-all-rules kind of voice, or an emphasis on social hierarchy. Your consumers will want you to be boastful of the status they achieve when they consume your products. In fact, the saltier the language you use the better! They want you to be all up in their faces about how your products separate them from the rest of the pack.

(Credit: Fabrik Brands) 

 

 3. Formal and Ambitious

Formal and ambitious tones help your brand improve trust and foster credibility, therefore they are perfect for research-based or technical fields like law and finance. Perhaps no other brand pulls off formal and ambitious voices better than Bloomberg, a leading source of business and finance news. The company takes pride in knowing they are an authoritative and reliable media agency that is hellbent on dominating its industry. When you establish yourself as a global think-tank and your performance proves it, it is only a matter of time before others believe in you.

(Credit: Bloomberg) 

 

4. Motivational, Direct and Personal

This tone of voice is especially appropriate for charity organizations or any non-profit whose mission is to address social challenges such as poverty and cancer. A brilliant case in point is Cancer Research UK, a non-profit that organizes periodic marathons to spread awareness about and accumulate funds in support of cancer research. In the process, they motivate cancer patients as well as their family members who endure a lot of pain and suffering due to the disease. Below is an example:

(Credit: News Works)

 

5. Wild, Wild, West

Granted, not everyone enjoys the company of people who yell all the time or hurl insults every chance they get. However, if you can make your target audience laugh, absurdity could help your brand stand out. You should not expect everyone to find your scatological humor funny, but those who love it will really relish every visit to your social media feed. A good case in point is Wendy’s. Below is a good example:

(Credit: Insights for Professionals) 

 

 In a nutshell;

There are no one-size-fits-all strategies to developing a compelling brand tone of voice. What matters is your ability to tailor your tone to meet the needs of the company’s core target segment. Some audiences just need a good laugh, while others may be going through a rough time thus in need of motivation and support. 

One thing’s for sure though is that with the right tone of voice, your brand’s communication and storytelling efforts will be hard to ignore.