BY ISABEL GUTIERREZ
Tone of Voice, you may have heard this term used a lot but might not be entirely sure what it is exactly. Tone of Voice is simply another marketing jargon to describe what impression the words you use make on everyone who comes in contact with your business via a written or spoken message.
It has nothing to do with your expertise or the content you produce. It is not what you say or write and doesn’t dictate if your writing is grammatically correct or not. Your tone of voice is simply the unique way you talk. It is how your business uses the tool of language to communicate its products or services: the type of words used in all your documents, marketing collateral, website, letters, social media, together with the rhythm, the punctuation and quirks. Most importantly, it is what gives you distinctiveness and shapes your business’s character.
Why does it matter for your business?
1. It embodies you and your team
Your tone of voice expresses your company’s personality through the use of vocabulary which represents your core values. It is a reflection of what matters to you as a business and as such, it connects you emotionally with people. People buy people, and equally, people buy the human side of your business.
2. It gives you distinctiveness and sets you apart
Your tone of voice makes you recognisable and helps you stand out from the crowd. Your business’s uniqueness is the blend of its own idiosyncrasies, expressions, colloquialisms, and so forth, and this is what people remember. Your tone of voice, therefore, makes you as memorable as your own voice. A brand with an extremely recognisable tone of voice is Virgin. We don’t need to see the colour red or their logo to know this is a Virgin’s ad. We know it because of their irreverent tone of voice.
3. It positions you as an Authority in your field
Having a defined tone of voice establishes you as an authority in your field of expertise. New York Times Best Seller’s Dr. Robert Cialdini, who has dedicated his career to the study of persuasion, states in his acclaimed book Influence:
“People follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.”
Your tone of voice will inject your writing with assurance and consistency and develop trust in your customers by positioning you as a market leader.
4. It is your magic wand to influence your audience.
The astonishing power of language lies in its capacity to raise emotions. Being meticulous when defining your voice and choosy when hand-picking your words will enable you to create content that has the ability to influence and persuade your audience. Your tone of voice should be built upon two important pillars: your personality and your types of customer. By doing this, you create a strong bond with your audience.
5. It transforms your business into a brand
Your tone of voice makes you approachable and real, bringing humanity to your services. It infuses you with integrity, honesty and care. It makes you lovable and memorable. It gives you resilience. It is the key differentiator between a company and a brand.
So, how do you define your tone of voice?
1. Establishing your core values
Your values encompass everything you stand for, determining the way your business operates and conducts itself. They form the guiding principles for all the activities you and your employees undertake. They also influence your customers’s buying decisions and affect your sales and profits because people are more likely to buy from a company whose values are aligned with their own.
Most successful brands will breathe and share their values as a driving force to act in a certain way or make important decisions. Here are some brilliant examples:
Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
Integrity: Be real
Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
Passion: Committed in heart and mind
Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
Quality: What we do, we do well
We believe in people
We are one team
Straightforward and open-minded
Keep it simple
We think customer
We lead the way
We do the right thing
We are determined to deliver
Together we make the difference
So, defining your company values is a vital part to the overall success of building your business.
2. Conveying your personality with the use of relevant vocabulary
In order to determine what type of language your brand should adopt, you must have a clear understanding of its personality. Knowing who your brand really is and the type of businesses that is trying to attract, will dictate your writing style. If you are a solicitor, you may want to come across as serious and professional, while keeping a friendly and approachable tone. If you run a beauty company, you may want to use a more chatty but still polished and businesslike tone.
3. Telling your story
Your content is a means to express your expertise, talent and share with your audience what makes you tick, what makes you unique and what value you can add. When creating your content, use your story to write inspirational information. Valuable articles that will touch your customer’s heart because they empathy with their frustrations or fill them with helpful tips and advice. Your tone of voice helps your content resonate with them by evoking feelings of understanding, connection and trust.
I hope with this post I have inspired you to establish your tone of voice and start getting your business’s character recognised to attract and connect with more customers.