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Brand voice, personality

Why is tone of voice important for business? Have you defined it for your brand?

November 2020 · 3 Min Read

“I feel like it’s shouting at me!”

We’ve all felt like that haven’t we? We’ve been staring at an artistic impression in a gallery or even a piece of graffiti on a train and thought “it’s trying to tell me something!”. Sometimes, it’s abundantly clear, as if its message is being shouted. Other times, it feels like a whisper or a subtle gesture. Yet, that doesn’t really make sense. "Surely, art can’t speak, it has no voice, it can’t make a sound!" We all know that’s not true; a picture paints a thousand words and we can hear them as clearly as we can see them. How we feel about that picture often comes from its tone. That’s why when we talk about your brand’s tone of voice in this article, it’s important to remember that it has only a little to do with the sounds you and your colleagues make when you speak.

What you say matters but how you say it often matters more

Think of the superhero villain. Let’s take, for example, The Joker. One of his classic quotes is: “We stop looking for the monsters under the bed when we realise they’re inside of us”. When it comes from the joker, it has a menacing tone. We instantly think of the monster that is The Joker and how scary it would be if he unleashed his monstrous ways on the world. Now, imagine that quote again but picture it being said by Gandhi. He would almost certainly say it in a calm, peaceful manner. We would probably take a completely different meaning from it too. “Well of course… there is nothing to fear from the world outside if we can but improve our souls” or something along those lines. The Joker has lots of quotes like this where how he says something matters a lot more than what he actually says. Maybe this is all a little too deep. As The Joker would say: “Why so serious?”.

Brand Tone of voice Joker Gandhi

Serious brand voice, playful, authoritative?

“Hang on, what’s a brand voice?” Good question. If, as we’ve explained above, there is a tone of voice in art, then it also exists in writing, speech, photography and pretty much every form of communication. You will, of course have read all of our articles on branding by now so you will know that the way you communicate both internally and externally affects the perception your audience has of you. Have you thought about all of the different ways you communicate with clients, staff, suppliers and every other stakeholder? Let’s name a few:

Now, remember what we said above. It’s not just what you say that matters, how you say it matters too. So, you need to ask yourself “how do we want our audience to feel about our brand?” and “how will our tone affect their feelings?”

Clarity and consistency

No, we won’t stop talking about clarity and consistency, we’re being clear and consistent. We talk about it so much because it’s important in every part of your brand and your tone of voice is no exception. That’s why you can’t just hope that all of your communication has a “nice” tone, you have to truly define what your voice is. Having a consistent tone of voice is a huge part of what makes you stand out and it’s also a huge part of how you are recognised. If you communicate in one tone with your writing and a completely different tone in videos or sales, you can make your audience feel a little confused. Confusion can quickly breed a lack of trust and a lack of trust breeds a lack of sales.

How do you define your tone of voice?

Read our blog about brand personality yet? Well, we explain that just like your brand has a tone of voice, it has a personality too and in fact, that tone is mainly derived from your brand personality. Defining and understanding your brand personality will make it much easier to define your tone of voice. Understanding your values, purpose, audience and plans for the future will help too.

Guess what? Turtles are sometimes yellow!

Sorry, we got distracted. Guess again! That’s right, we’ll work with you to Define Your Brand. That way, you can clearly communicate using a tone of voice that is distinctive, relevant, clear, consistent and truly you. All you need to do now is [email protected] and work with us on achieving a defined voice for your business.

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