Words matter – Brand tone of voice and why it matters

Jul 8, 2022 by
Words matter – Brand tone of voice and why it matters

If you’ve been part of the online marketing world for even a little while you’ll probably be aware of the phrase “tone of voice” or TOV. For copywriters, content creators, social media gurus and everybody else involved in building your brand, the TOV is a sacred and decidedly difficult thing to master. It is also pretty hard to quantify without getting all silly and philosophical.

What we can tell you definitively, however, is that it’s important. It’s how your audience gets to know your brand and form a relationship with it that goes beyond customer and supplier. It’s what allows you to cultivate a dialogue with them that feels organic and can grow and change over time.

But how do you choose your brand TOV and how can it help your brand?

Voice and tone

First, you need to understand the subtle difference between voice and tone. Your voice is what you say and the tone is how you deliver it. This means that voice is slightly more important than tone as you can comfortably adapt your tone as and when it suits you depending on the context but your voice needs to remain consistent.

You’ll need to find a balance between different tones that suits your voice – friendly tones, serious tones, warm tones and formal tones. But they all need to be delivered in a consistent voice.

Finding your personality

Your TOV reflects your brand identity. So, for example, if you’re a brand that creates products for children and young families, your POV should be playful and approachable and your vocabulary should remain conservative and clear. If you’re a B2B company, meanwhile, a more authoritative tone and the use of more specific jargon are generally expected.

Experiment with as many different voices and tones as possible at the beginning of your business journey before settling on a final TOV. Because once it’s locked in it can be hard to change it without confusing your users.

Creating your TOV

A TOV is not something that just appears out of thin air. It’s something you have to work towards and develop. Thankfully, we’ve put together a step-by-step process that should lead you in the right direction.

Target audience – Who are you trying to reach with your brand? Your TOV should be speaking directly to your target audience so consider their ages, their jobs, what other brands they typically associate with and how they found your brand. Think about the common values you share with them and how you would want to be engaged with if the roles were reversed.

Mission statement – Think about what your brand hopes to achieve and how it wants to achieve it. Why did you start this business in the first place and what values does it represent? These are the kinds of questions you should be answering definitively before settling on a TOV.

Personality – There are thousands of tiny things that make up a person’s personality but the personality of a brand isn’t quite as complex. Consider what kind of personality archetype your brand would be. It sounds daft, but think of your brand as a character in a novel or a film and then write from the perspective of that character. Are you a creative brand? An authoritative brand or a playful brand?

Whatever kind of brand you are, once you’ve found your personality the rest should fall into place quite naturally.