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  • Lauren

What is a Brand’s Tone of Voice, and Do I Need One?

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A brand’s tagline is more than just a slogan. Words that have become memorable phrases are years of testing and research to figure out what sticks. More importantly, that million-pound wording comes from finding your brand’s voice and, therefore, your tone of voice. Without establishing these, you won’t have a clear direction or consistency in marketing and communicating your message.

So, how do you discover your own brand’s tone of voice?

Brand Voice vs Tone of Voice

Ok, this can be tricky, but both are essential, and one can’t really work without the other. In simplest terms, your brand voice influences your tone of voice, and your tone of voice reflects your brand…does that make sense? Let’s break it down a little further.

What is a Brand’s Voice?

It might sound like a buzzword from your marketing team, but everyone, from your apprentice to your CEO, must understand your brand’s voice. It refers to how you communicate with your audience to illustrate your culture, perspective, and values. It’s like your soul or personality; it’s unique to you. Your brand voice is the central umbrella and determines things like:

We’re informative but not bossy.

We’re bold but not aggressive.

We’ve upbeat but not cheesy, etc.

Once you’ve established your voice, you reinforce it with your tone of voice.

What is a Brand’s Tone of Voice?

Your tone of voice refers to the way you communicate with your audience to relay your core message and values. It can be depicted in several ways, from the vocabulary and sentence

syntax you use to your spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Your TOV should also remain consistent through written, verbal and marketing content, covering all client touchpoints such as business cards, emails, newsletters, adverts, social media posts, website copy etc. Ultimately, your audience should be able to spot your brand from your language and tone of voice alone.

Next time to create a video or advert, close your eyes and listen to the words. Do they sound like you?

The Importance of Tone of Voice

Your tone of voice focuses more on how you say something. This is why the tone of voice guidelines should be essential for all employees and used as a reference when creating any form of content. Your tone of voice is also adaptable depending on the topic, channel, message and target audience; you can easily tweak your tone and vocabulary to suit the purpose whilst maintaining your brand’s voice.

What is Your Tone of Voice Made Up Of?

If we imagine the below elements are puzzle pieces. Alone, they look pretty daunting, but once you start to piece them together, they create a clear picture. So, when we talk about what affects your tone of voice, we’re referring to:

  • Vocabulary

  • Colloquialisms

  • Word length

  • Contractions

  • Sentence structure

  • Your pace

  • Choice of pronouns

  • Clarity

  • Jargon, abbreviations and acronyms

  • Emotive language

Examples of Tone of Voice

Think about how many different types of personalities there are out there. Now, triple that for the number of possible tones of voice – the list is endless! Here are some of the more popular TOV options:

  • Professional/formal

  • Legal/serious

  • Humorous

  • Sassy

  • Soft

  • Positive

  • Bold

  • Controversial

  • Conversational

  • Casual/friendly

  • Comforting

How to Settle on Your Tone of Voice

Don’t panic if you don’t have a set tone of voice right from the start. This can evolve with your brand as you grow, develop and get to know your audience better. To get you started, ask yourself the following questions to find your tone of voice:

  1. What’s the ‘why’ behind your business idea?

  2. How would you describe your personality? (Ask around if you’re not sure!)

  3. Which tone reflects you? i.e., funny, serious, formal, casual, respectful, controversial, enthusiastic, matter of fact.

  4. What are your core values?

  5. What type of product or service are you offering?

  6. Who is your target audience?

  7. How do your competitors sound?

  8. Realistically, what TOV can you maintain?

  9. What are you not?

Who Creates a Brand's Tone of Voice?

If you’re a start-up company, you’re instantly the CEO, and you’ll understand your business inside out. However, branding or copywriting might not be your area of expertise, which is absolutely fine! The most successful people in the world understand they cannot master everything and use those who are experts in their fields to strengthen their enterprise.

Whomever you hire, if that’s a brand manager, marketing exec or copywriter, make sure you spend time discussing your business with them. They must understand your ‘why’ to reflect your passion and expertise across your copy.

Finding Your Voice

If you’re struggling to find the words to express who you are as a brand, business or individual, LM Copywriting can help. Whether it’s a consultation to get you started, a tone of voice pack for you and your colleagues, or support in creating consistent content, we’ve got you covered. Pop us a message to find your brand’s tone of voice today.

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