Tone of voice is your brand personality, and tells customers who you are beyond your product and service offering. It’s what you say, how you say it, and how this makes people feel. Your tone of voice is what makes you stand out from the crowd, persuading people to buy from you, rather than your competitors.
Who are you?
To figure out your tone of voice, you have to dig deep into your brand. Think about who you are, what makes you unique and what you stand for. Consider your strengths, your challenges, who your audience is and what makes them tick. Here at Hotfoot, we like to do what’s called a ‘value proposition’ meeting at the start of every project, which gets to the bottom of these burning questions. This then helps mould what our work together will look like.
Are you a playful, informative or empowering brand? Do you want customers to know that you’re friendly, optimistic and inclusive? Your brand attributes are conveyed in the words you choose and how you say them – this part includes sentence structure, word rhythm and even punctuation. Staying true to your tone of voice can be choosing to end a sentence with a full stop instead of an exclamation mark, or using contractions like ‘doesn’t’ over ‘does not’. These little details all add up to create the full picture of who you are.
Why is tone of voice important?
Your tone of voice helps you build trust with people through your business communications. It grabs their attention, then keeps it.
A consistent tone of voice across all platforms is important. It’s what makes you identifiable, reassuring the customer that no matter where they are in their buying journey, they’re with the same people. If you’re always cracking jokes on social media but suddenly switch to stern and serious on your website, it can create a disconnect that leaves people feeling uncertain. Your social media posts, website, email marketing, blog and ads should all have the same tone of voice that’s true to your brand.
What are tone of voice guidelines?
Tone of voice guidelines do what they say on the tin; they provide guidance on your brand’s tone of voice and how best to implement it throughout your communications. These guidelines help everyone who communicates on behalf of your brand, whether it’s your social media manager creating a post, your customer service representative talking directly to a customer, or a copywriter you’ve outsourced content to. An established tone of voice keeps everything cohesive.
Good examples of tone of voice in action
Here are a few examples of tone of voice that you might recognise. They leave a lasting impact, and work incredibly well for their brands.
Innocent is always referenced when brand tone of voice is discussed, but that’s because it’s an excellent example. Innocent’s tone of voice elevates them from a company selling bottled smoothies and juices to a brand that brings so much more. Their playful tone of voice isn’t afraid to poke fun at themselves, and helps them connect with consumers in a way that similar brands may struggle to. It makes you feel connected to the people behind the product; by buying Innocent drinks, you’re buying into something bigger.
Here’s an example from Innocent’s 2022 Impact Report. Quirky, fun and livens up a document that could otherwise be boring.
Monzo is another wonderful example of how, when done right, tone of voice truly connects a customer to a brand. Banking has long been seen as a sector without much personality, but Monzo’s informal and jargon-free communications make banking with them something that seems accessible and, well, fun. They carry an ambitious and positive tone of voice across all their communications, so no matter what stage of the user journey you’re at, you feel a sense of connection with the people looking after your money.
Monzo’s Tone of Voice Guidelines sum it up.
Let’s grow your brand
So, now you know all about tone of voice, it’s time to get one. We’re experienced in developing brand tone of voice and creating guidelines to help everyone in your organisation understand how to use it.
We also offer a variety of other creative services, including website design, brand identity and marketing strategy. Check out our recent client projects to see work we’ve done, or get in touch to chat through your project.