Person highlighting words in red on a printed document

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

Many businesses fall into the trap of believing brand only comprises of a good colour palette, logo and visuals. In reality, that’s only half of your brand, and tone of voice is often the missing ingredient.

65% of customers say that they feel an emotional connection to brands they believe cares about them and they share values with. These connections aren’t born from a logo alone; it also includes the way the company speaks. It’s 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. Customers would be left in the abyss, unsure of who to trust or who to choose. Your tone of voice allows you to show personality that gives your brand a human touch – ideally with warmth, sense of humour, formality, respectfulness, authenticity and, most importantly, uniqueness if you want to win over the crowd.

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 if they have 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 in a world where their options are endless.

What’s your tone of voice?

The first step of tone of voice is understanding what yours should be. Once this is in place, it’s much easier to create guidelines and govern it. We’ve listed 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?
  • How do you want your customers to feel after they interact with your brand?

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. After all, we each speak in different ways.

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. The choice between two words that, in essence mean the same thing, often seems minor to many people too. 

However, as we’ve proven, though, the way we speak affects how our customers feel about us. It’s a difficult but incredibly valuable aspect of brand to convey, which is why tone of voice matters.

How can you effectively manage tone of voice across your organisation with RightMarket

We understand that maintaining a consistent tone of voice and educating all your staff to use it is a significant challenge. That’s why we believe tone of voice should be an integral part of any brand management system.

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. It meant include tone of voice alongside the visual elements.

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.

However, RightMarket empowers you to also monitor how much of your material is or isn’t on message with our Tone of Voice Assistant. We work with you to set up your guidelines in the Online Brand Centre, allowing your users to be educated on the right way to use certain words and phrases. It covers everything from specific words to the nitty gritty, such as the way you present dates or times. We’ll even make sure they’re using your brand name correctly – which affects more companies that you might think!

Tone of voice assistant picking up on job title formatting

With the Tone of Voice Assistant working alongside our brand templates, you will ensure all your team are creating visual compelling and customer-friendly content. There’s no risk of alienating people by speaking to them in the wrong tone or losing customers.

Instead, you will deliver consistent brand experiences that leave them feeling valued and ready to trust your brand.

Book a demo today

Find out more about how RightMarket could help you, and see the Tone of Voice Assistant in action.