tone of voice

Visual branding is only one half of your brand: the importance of tone of voice

One of the most common misconceptions around brand is that its only components are a good colour palette, logo and visual elements. In reality, that’s only half of your brand. When 65% of customers say that they feel an emotional connection to brands that make them feel like the company cares about them and has the same values, they’re not talking about their logo or colours, they’re talking about the way the company speaks. This is not just about what they say, but how they say it too.

If all organisations spoke in the same way, we wouldn’t be able to differentiate one from another – our trust would be stuck. Your tone of voice allows you to show personality, warmth, sense of humor, formality, respectfulness, values and, most importantly, uniqueness.

The overall impact of tone of voice

In the same way that a company needs a recognisable logo that stands out, it needs a unique way of speaking. It’s useful to think of a company as a real person: the way a person speaks can change our perspective of them almost immediately and either make us care or not. While physical appearance might draw us to someone, it’s not what makes us stay and talk to them. The same is true for brands.

According to Sprout Social, 40% of consumers said brands stand out more than others due to memorable content, 32% said compelling storytelling and 33% believed it was distinct personality. Tone of voice plays a huge part in those three aspects of brand. By using consistent tone of voice, customers and clients feel like they know your organisation, creating trust and familiarity, which brings loyalty and even comfort.

What’s your tone of voice?

In order to understand, create guidelines and protect your company’s tone of voice, there are a few guiding questions that can help:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What’s the best language to reach them?
  • What values does your company want to show?
  • What kind of words do you use?
  • Which ones do you avoid?
  • What personality do you want to convey?

All of these answers will be connected to each other. Language, words, values and personality are intrinsically linked. For example, wanting to use the word ‘condition’ instead of ‘disease’ can completely change the way your recipient feels towards your brand.

tone of voice scale
A useful case study of a tone of voice sliding scale exercise

The challenges

Tone of voice can feel like an overwhelming aspect of brand to manage, especially when trying to keep people outside of the marketing team on message. Guidelines tend to be long and require commitment from employees to read and respect. Thousands of communications are sent off every day with no approval process in place, which makes it even more difficult to keep an eye on.

Furthermore, many people might not understand the importance of tone of voice. They believe as long as they’re staying visually consistent, it’s enough. As we’ve proven, though, that’s only half of it. And it’s a difficult aspect of brand to convey.

This was the challenge many of our customers were facing. So…

How can you effectively manage tone of voice across your organization?

RightMarket is a template system that ensures your brand is delivered and maintained across all your organisational artwork. When building the newest version of our Online Brand Centre, we knew that as a brand management platform we had to tackle brand as a whole (not just visually).

We all understand how quick it is to see if visual branding is consistent. We can clearly measure how many of our customers are having problems with visual consistency and help them fix the issue with the metrics to prove it.

What if we told you we can monitor how much of your material is or isn’t on message. We work with you on uploading and setting up your tone of voice guidelines in the Online Brand Centre, allowing your users to be educated on the right way to use certain words and phrases. From specific words to the nitty gritty, such as the way you present dates or times.

Tone of voice assistant picking up on job title formatting

Find out more about our Tone of Voice Assistant here. 
Learn more about how we can help you manage your brand (from visuals to Tone of Voice) and book a demo here 

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