Branding:

3 Easy Ways to Find Your Brand’s Unique Tone of Voice

Emy Mordue
  • Senior Content Marketing Manager
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First of all, what is tone of voice?
And why is it important for you and your brand?

Tone of voice refers to the written, rather than the spoken word; for a brand, tone of voice will inform all marketing communications, from product descriptions right through to the language used within an email.

I like the way Kevan Lee summarises the different parts, voice vs. tone:

Voice: Your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.

Tone: A subset of your brand’s voice. Tone adds specific character to your voice based on factors such as audience, situation and channel.

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Essentially, there is one voice for your brand and many tones that refine that voice. Voice is a mission statement. Tone is the application of that mission.
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Finding your own tone of voice is extremely important for your brand:

  • It sets you apart from your competitors, strengthening your position within the market through a repeated style and language
  • It shows your personality, which is essentially an expression of the people in your company
  • It gives you, your employees and anyone involved with your brand a benchmark. This means that anyone should be able to work on brand content and it will still look, sound and feel the same

But how can you find your brand’s unique tone of voice? I’ve summarised 3 top points to consider:

1. Start back at the beginning. Why did you decide to set up your company in the first place? Often rediscovering the reason(s) and purpose for making that decision can help to inform the language that you use.

2. Your tone of voice is just that – it’s yours – you don’t have to be an all singing, all dancing brand to have one. It’s about making the way you communicate (and how others communicate on your behalf) more effective and consistent across all marketing activities. Try this: think of your brand as a person. What would they be like? Assign attributes (adjectives) to describe them and pin these down into a few keywords. Finding a set of common words, or keywords, that describe your brand is a great starting point for finding your tone of voice.

3. Ask! If you’re too close to your brand, it’s often hard to see the wood for the trees so why not ask your customers? Asking for feedback in general should be an important part of your marketing strategy – when it comes to defining your tone of voice, polling your customers by asking them directly “which of these 3 words best describes our brand” can offer some valuable insights that you may not have been able to see yourself.

Lastly, the most important things to remember are keep it simple, authentic and consistent!

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