Tone of voice is not about what a company says, but rather how it says it and the impression it leaves on its audience. Companies can communicate their values and ethos through the phrases they use and the level of punctuation that sentences carry. A brands’ tone of voice is present on its website, social articles, sales emails, intranet, staff handbook, product brochures, and client presentations, just to list a few.

For any business, when thinking about tone of voice, there are multiple audiences to consider—your customers, staff, suppliers, shareholders, etc. These audiences will determine what tone your brand adopts and to make it work, your messaging needs to be consistent across all aspects of your business so that recipients are left feeling they know your brand.

1. Give customers signposting about your company persona, an identity they can relate to

Build an emotional connection with your core client audience, by communicating with them in a style that mirrors their own. Connecting with an audience may involve convincing them of your expertise or effectiveness, so creating a tone that is authoritative and professional is helpful.

As Maya Angelou once said, “people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

What’s more, maintaining a consistent tone over time will help your company build a likeable and reliable brand and better appeal to the target audiences. With any piece of marketing content, it is critical to put the brand voice firmly in the picture every time.

2. Be the company your audience wants to be seen with

We all like to have glamorous, influential, and interesting friends.  Similarly, your customer audience wants to be associated with brands that are cool, popular, sophisticated, and well known.  Communicating professionally, passionately, or humorously has a big impact on how your audience perceives your brand. 

In the current saturated market, a distinctive, unique and easily recognizable tone of voice will make your company stand out from the competition. Capture your target audience by successfully portraying your brand’s personality through different channels that align with the overall values it holds.

For example, Coca-Cola’s voice is positive, friendly, and down-to-earth. In advertisements, it always shows the audience what a happy life looks like, accompanied by a cheerful tone of voice. The brand successfully creates associations of positive feelings and happiness with their beverages.

3. Build trust through consistency in tone of voice across your communications

Customers form an image of your company based on your tone of voice, so it’s crucial that it aligns with how you want to represent your brand. Gradually, customers will build a sense of trust and connection with your company based on perceiving a consistent tone of voice across different channels. A strong sense of trust is proven to influence customers’ decisions and purchasing behaviour.

For instance, Tiffany & Co. expresses a witty, elegant and classic tone of voice. Its content and social media team work together to ensure voice consistency between social media posts and branded content. Strong brand identity forms a perception of high value and luxury. As a result, customers will pay more for the logo and the small blue box that contains the jewellery.

The consequences of not having tone of voice

We live in an era of individualization and personalization; a period when the ‘WHY’ behind a brand is every bit as important as the ‘WHAT.’  Brands themselves are not really any different to humans; your audience is looking for signposting on the personality behind your brand.

You will have to decide what persona your company has and how best to portray it.  Depending on your audience, being too starchy may be harmful, but then, so might being over-familiar.

What you can be sure of is that having an inconsistent tone will diminish your company’s ability to project its brand and weaken the overall message your company is trying to convey. Almost inevitably, if you fail to maintain a consistent tone, you will reduce the impact of your communications and the connection you hope to build with your internal and external audiences.

Judy Wu

Marketing strategist and content writer

Currently working towards her bachelor degree in Marketing, Judy is always interested in the evolution of technology and how it impacts on society. She takes a particular interest in consumer brands and how they compare to business brands. Judy can be reached via LinkedIn.

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