How to Define Your Brand’s Tone of Voice: Infographics & Examples

Define your brand's tone of voice

Every brand wants to create the kind of digital presence that gets results, but this can be an interesting challenge to undertake. One part of this challenge is creating a tone of voice for your brand that truly works.

If you are wondering how to define your brand’s tone of voice, we explore some solutions and inspiration below.

What Is A “Tone of Voice” Anyway?

What exactly does "tone of voice" mean?

We have all heard people say things like “watch your tone” to people who are speaking, but what exactly does “tone of voice” mean when applied to a brand?

Your tone of voice describes how your brand communicates with the audience, which will have a part in influencing how people think about your brand, business, services, and products.

This tone of voice will reflect your brand’s personality and values. It will be shaped by the words and visuals you choose in all of your brand’s content. This includes your social media posts, emails, and any other branded materials.

While this tone should be overall consistent in major ways to give your brand a sense of authenticity and not confuse your target audience, it may vary from time to time depending on these factors:

  • Your audience
  • The media you make use of
  • The goal of your content

If you successfully create a brand voice, people will know your content when they see it, whether it is branded or not. That is a powerful thing.

SEE ALSO: The Power of Copywriting in Branding

How Having a Tone of Voice Benefits Your Company

So, you know what a tone of voice is, but what can it actually offer your brand? Let’s take a look!

A Sense of Connection

If people feel like your brand is relatable, they will be encouraged to engage and connect with it. 65% of customers say that they are connected to a brand in a way that makes them feel as if the company cares about them. This is the kind of connection you want to foster through branding.

Building Trust

Trust can set you apart from the competition and there are different ways you can foster it in your audience. Many consumers prefer to shop with companies that they feel have a genuinely positive impact on the world. Some consumers will even pay more if they feel a company reflects their ethics.

Engage in charitable giving, ethical work practices, and/or environmental friendliness. Make sure that your customers know about it.

Boosted Revenue

According to a brand consistency study from Lucidpress, brands with consistent voices have an average revenue increase of 23% over those with consistency issues. You want to make sure that your brand has a consistent tone of voice that people can get to know and recognize.

Find Your Voice

Your brand’s tone of voice should largely be influenced by your audience and your own brand values. You need to understand your ideal target audience and their values. Once you have answered some important questions about who your audience is and what you want your brand to be, you can craft a voice that will appeal to these sensibilities and values. Take these steps into consideration.

Understand Your Audience

Before you undertake any brand voice exercises, you will want to conduct in-depth audience research to get important information about your audience. While this can be an in-depth process and there are many ways to get and interpret this information, you can get started by looking at Google Analytics and the analytics offered by different social media sites.

Once you figure out who your audience is, think about how you would address that person if you knew them. If you were talking to your friend’s grandmother you would likely address them differently than you would your friend. Think about it as if this audience is a person you know who you want to start a conversation with.

Denny’s Gets It Right

For example, if you are targeting millennials, you can have a bit more fun with your brand voice. You can create playful content that is sarcastic, funny, absurd or riffs on current internet trends and memes.

Denny’s has become famous for its sassy millennial-friendly Twitter account, with posts like these:

Know Where Your Audience Hangs Out Online

When you figure out who your ideal customer is and what demos you are trying to reach, find out where they prefer to congregate online.

For example, if your target audience is older, they would be more likely to used Facebook than Snapchat. So, it would make sense for your to focus your effort on Facebook rather than Snapchat.

However, Facebook’s popularity among young Americans is falling, while Instagram’s is rising. This is something to take into account if your target audience is young.

SEE ALSO: Is Social Media Dead in The U.S.?

Know How Your Audience Talks To Each Other

When you mimick the vocabulary of another person correctly, it makes them feel a sense of belonging. When you mimick the vocabulary of a group online, it can help you fit in and make your content relatable to them.

However, you do not want to overdo this. Many savvy consumers are wary of brands and businesses co-opting their slang or interests in an insensitive way. This can even turn people off from your brand.

You don’t want your brand to end up on one of the many roundups of brand Twitter failures.

A Content Audit

Before doing a total overhaul, take a look at your current content and branding. Which pieces of your content have performed the best and why? Which do you like the best and why? What don’t you like? See how your content holds up next to The 5 C’s of Content Creation.

Take a look at your content and use the Nielsen Norman Group’s four dimensions of tone of voice to see where your current brand voice falls. These dimensions are:

  • Funny vs serious
  • Formal vs casual
  • Respectful vs irreverent
  • Enthusiastic vs matter of fact

Make sure that what you sound like and what you want to sound like line up! If they do not, changes are in order. Make tone profiles for your current and future brand voices using this as a guide:

Future brand voices using this as a guide

An Example of Tone

Take a look at millennial geared beauty brand Glossier’s About Page:

Glossier brand messaging

“You have now entered a people-powered beauty ecosystem. Here you’ll find products inspired by the people who use them, along with people to be inspired by, and for you to inspire. Glossier was founded on the fact that beauty isn’t made in a boardroom—it happens when the individual is celebrated. Personal choice is the most important decision a brand can never make.”

Unlike the previous example, Denny’s, who chooses to engage a younger audience with a more irreverent tone of voice on Twitter, Glossier chooses to keep things incredibly respectful on their site and throughout all of their branding.

They place respect for customers needs and individuality at the core of their brand messaging, and this extends even to their social media accounts, where they regularly engage with and retweet customers.

Retweet brand messaging

Final Thoughts

Remember, just because a certain mixture of tones works for one brand, does not mean that it is the ideal tone for you. You want to create your own tone for your brand based on your values, customer base, and goals.

You want to keep it consistent, keep it authentic, and keep inspiring your customers to relate to and communicate with you.

Is there a brand with a tone of voice that you particularly admire? Let us know below…

Written by
Juntae DeLane

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