How to define your brand’s tone of voice

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In today’s competitive marketplace, branding is more important than ever. A strong brand identity not only helps you stand out from the competition but also builds trust and loyalty with your target audience. One crucial element of branding is your brand’s tone of voice, which encompasses the language, style, and personality you use to communicate with your audience. 

Your tone of voice is the way in which you communicate with your audience through all of your marketing channels, from your website and social media to your packaging and advertising. In this blog, we’ll discuss why defining your brand’s tone of voice is crucial for creating a strong brand identity and connecting with your target market. 

We’ll also provide practical tips and examples to help you define your brand’s tone of voice and use it consistently across all of your marketing channels.

Why it matters

Defining your brand’s tone of voice is not just a nice-to-have element of branding, it’s a crucial aspect that can greatly impact the success of your business. From creating consistency and building brand loyalty to improving communication and increasing engagement, understanding the importance of tone of voice will help you to effectively connect with your audience and establish a strong brand identity.

Creates consistency: A defined tone of voice ensures that all of your marketing communications are consistent across all channels, which helps to establish brand recognition and trust.

Sets your brand apart: Your tone of voice can differentiate your brand from competitors and create a unique identity that resonates with your audience.

Builds brand loyalty: A consistent tone of voice that aligns with your brand’s values and personality can help to build brand loyalty and increase customer retention.

Improves communication: A clear tone of voice can help to improve communication with your audience, making it easier to convey your brand’s message and connect with your target market.

Increases engagement: By creating a tone of voice that resonates with your audience, you can increase engagement and encourage customers to interact with your brand.

Where to start

Now that you understand why your brand’s tone of voice is important, it’s time to learn how to define it. By understanding your target audience and brand personality, you can create a consistent and engaging tone of voice that resonates with your customers. So, let’s get started!

Know your audience

Your tone of voice should always be tailored to your audience. This means you need to understand who your target market is and what they want from your brand. Consider factors such as age, gender, location, interests, and values. For example, a brand targeting teenagers may use a more casual and humorous tone of voice, while a brand targeting older adults may use a more formal and authoritative tone.

Define your brand’s personality

While brand personality and tone of voice are related, they are not the same thing. Brand personality refers to the set of characteristics that define your brand’s identity, while tone of voice refers to the way in which you communicate with your audience. By understanding the difference between these two elements, you can create a tone of voice that accurately reflects your brand’s personality. 

Consider the values, mission, and vision of your brand, as well as its personality traits. Are you friendly and approachable, or serious and professional? Are you innovative and edgy, or traditional and reliable? Use these personality traits to guide your tone of voice. For example, where does your business fall on this scale?

  • Funny or serious?
  • Formal or casual?
  • Irreverent or respectful?
  • Enthusiastic or matter-of-fact?

You could also create a brand voice chart to illustrate your tone of voice in action, along with some do’s and don’ts. We love this example from SEMRush:

PrimePixels

Creating a tone of voice guide

Once you have a solid understanding of your brand’s personality and audience, it’s time to create a guide for your brand’s tone of voice. This guide will help ensure that your brand’s messaging is consistent across all channels and will help you communicate with your audience effectively.

Determine your brand’s communication style

Your brand’s communication style refers to the way in which you communicate with your audience. Are you straightforward and to the point, or do you use storytelling to engage your audience? Do you use humour and wit, or are you more serious and factual? Consider the best way to communicate your brand’s message and choose a style that aligns with your brand’s personality and audience.

Use the right language

The language you use in your marketing materials should reflect your brand’s tone of voice. This means using the right vocabulary, sentence structure, and tone. For example, a brand targeting a younger audience may use more slang and informal language, while a brand targeting professionals may use more technical language and a more formal tone.

Be consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to your brand’s tone of voice. Use the same tone of voice across all of your marketing channels, including your website, social media, advertising, and packaging. This will help to create a strong brand identity and make it easier for your audience to recognise your brand.

Brand archetypes

Brand archetypes can be a useful tool for defining your brand’s tone of voice. Brand archetypes refer to a set of universal, symbolic characters or personas that have been identified through extensive research and study of human behaviour and psychology. Each archetype represents a specific set of values, beliefs, and traits that resonate with people on a deep, subconscious level. 

By identifying your brand’s archetype, you can tap into these universal themes and create a tone of voice that resonates with your audience and accurately reflects your brand’s personality. For instance, the explorer archetype is associated with traits like curiosity, freedom, and independence. Brands that embody this archetype often use language that is adventurous, daring, and bold. 

On the other hand, a brand that embodies the caregiver archetype may use language that is nurturing, empathetic, and supportive. Understanding your brand’s archetype can help you create a consistent and compelling tone of voice that resonates with your target audience, fosters emotional connections, and reinforces your brand identity.

Examples of UK brands and their tone of voice:

Innocent Drinks: Innocent Drinks is known for its playful and friendly tone of voice. Their marketing materials use humour and wit to engage their audience and reflect their brand’s fun and approachable personality.

Burberry: Burberry is a luxury fashion brand that uses a more formal and sophisticated tone of voice. Their marketing materials use elegant language and a refined tone to reflect their brand’s upscale and exclusive personality.

Lush: Lush is a beauty brand that uses a more personal and intimate tone of voice. Their marketing materials use storytelling and emotive language to connect with their audience and reflect their brand’s commitment to natural and ethical products.

ASOS: ASOS is an online fashion retailer that uses a more trendy and youthful tone of voice. Their marketing materials use informal language and pop culture references to engage their audience and reflect their brand’s edgy and innovative personality.

John Lewis: John Lewis is a department store that uses a more traditional and trustworthy tone of voice. Their marketing materials use a more formal and factual tone to reflect their brand’s reputation for quality and reliability.

In conclusion

Defining your brand’s tone of voice is crucial for creating a strong brand identity, connecting with your target market, and building brand loyalty. By tailoring your tone of voice to your audience, defining your brand’s personality, communication style, and language, and ensuring consistency across all marketing channels, you can differentiate your brand from competitors, improve communication, and increase engagement. 

Using brand archetypes and creating a brand voice chart can also be useful tools for defining your brand’s tone of voice. Ultimately, by choosing a tone of voice that accurately reflects your brand’s identity and resonates with your audience, you can create a memorable and impactful brand that stands out in a crowded marketplace. Not sure where to start? We can help.

 

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