In a world full of noise, your brand’s unique tone of voice can be one of the most effective and powerful ways to connect with your audience and really separate yourself from the competition.
Why Tone Of Voice Is So Important
There’s a reason some of the most loved and respected brands in the world focus so heavily on their tone of voice.
Not only does it allow them to really connect with their customers on a deeper level. But it also removes the veil from the brand.
In a world full of faceless organisations, having a unique tone of voice really allows people to see the humans and the personalities behind the brand. As you’ll see in the study below carried out by BrandAsset Valuator several years ago, brand trust slipped from 44% in 2001 to 18% in 2017 and continues to do so even today.
This chart coincides with the rise of social media platforms and search engines, which made it difficult for brands to hide. The world we live in is more transparent now than ever before and those who try to “fake it” will soon be exposed.
The problem is, it becomes difficult for us to distinguish between the untrustworthy companies we hear about when they communicate the same way as every other company out there.
The typical formal style of communication tends to be very cold, un-emotive, inauthentic and rigid. This usually results in us putting our guard up because we feel like we’re being sold to or potentially being manipulated somehow.
This is where the opportunity lies to really stand out and show people that you’re different.
How To Identify Your Unique Tone Of Voice
The first thing you need to think about when developing and identifying your own tone of voice is who are you really speaking to. If you haven’t already completed a customer avatar exercise, I’d highly recommend doing so. This will really allow you to tune into your target audience and how you can best show up for them in communication.
5 steps to finding your Brand Tone Of Voice
- Make your brand a person.
If your brand was an actual person, what would this person look and sound like? Is he or she young, old, serious, or funny? Take some time to write down their characteristics and build up an image of how they would engage and communicate with others.
- Pick your brand adjectives.
Try to think of around two or three adjectives to really describe your brand and company culture. If you have a team, get them involved and try to ask as many people as possible. Compare these adjectives and look for any patterns that you can use towards building your unique voice.
- Follow your audience (not in a stalker way).
Social Media is a great place to start getting some valuable insights about your target audience. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even online forums. Just spend some time seeing the kind of conversations that take place and how people communicate. Try to use this purely as a tool for inspiration and relevance, and not to copy others. It’s important your tone of voice represents your own unique brand personality.
- Find a role model.
Try to identify a particular brand you really gravitate towards and try to figure out why. What is it about their style of communication and language is it that pulls you in and builds trust. This is a great way to start identifying the elements that you may want to use in your own brand TOV.
- Try it on for size.
Try writing out some statements in your new brand identity and tone of voice. Read it out loud to yourself or to an audience. If any part sounds inauthentic, the voice isn’t right for your brand. Remember, it may feel strange, to begin with, especially if you have a corporate persona or background as we’re often not used to speaking in such a way. As long as it feels authentic to you, and the kind of brand you’re trying to build, then you’re on the right track!
If you’ve got any questions about this, let me know in the comments or feel free to use it as a sounding board and begin experimenting 😉