What is meant by tone of voice?
Tone of voice can be likened to that moment as a teenager when your Mum would tell you, ‘it’s not what you say, but how you say it’, and this sentiment rings true when it comes to a brand’s usage of tone of voice. When it comes to tone of voice in business it applies to the written word - so this is whatever you decide to include in that marketing campaign, on your business cards, or leaflet for that big trade show.
Tone of voice is all about brand image, and yours must remain the same across all branded material – from business cards to your branded stationery to the homepage on your website, your tone of voice must be clear and consistent. Your tone of voice reflects everything you stand for. It says a lot about you.
What your business specialises in will impact on your tone of voice. For example, a brand that works in marketing or travel can get away with a tongue in cheek, fun tone while solicitors or funeral directors will be more much more serious and factual (obviously). Ask yourself what you want your customers to think of you when they view your branded products and platforms, and translate this message into your voice.
Some good examples of brands that feature a strong tone of voice include Innocent drinks, whose social media is full of fun tweets that talk about current events and put an emphasis on fun. Interestingly, even bigger, more corporate brands can adapt their tone of voice to convey a message.
Recently, major publishing houses Melville House and Penguin Random House started to tweet each other throwing shade-much to the amusement of their followers. While their Twitter accounts are usually a little tongue in cheek and chatty they are reputable world-renowned publishers, working with huge authors on a daily basis.
Your tone of voice also revolves around your demographic. You want to speak to your customers for them to interact back with you. This is why an understanding of who you wish to target your brand at is important, and can greatly shape your tone of voice and message. B2B companies might find this element a struggle, since professionalism is always a strong point when talking to other businesses and can take away any personality you might have had if you were interacting with the average consumer.
Ultimately, tone of voice is about the message you want to convey and while consistency is key across a brand it can be tweaked slightly depending on the context. Play around with yours until you find a tone that suits your message and then use it across the board to share your thoughts and ideas with potential customers and followers online.