Your tone of voice: why it is VERY important and how to define it

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You may have come across the term tone of voice many times, however, if you are not in marketing, you may not be entirely sure what exactly means or why your company should worry about it. In this post, I am going to share with you a few valid reasons why defining your business’s tone of voice can help you grow and connect with the right people.

So, what’s tone of voice?

Your tone of voice has nothing to do with your expertise or 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. It is what gives you distinctiveness and makes your brand unique.

Your tone of voice is as important as your logo and visual identity and without it, you haven’t got a defined brand.

Why do you want to build a brand with a distinctive voice and not just run a business? Because a brand thrives, grows, creates a community and attracts people, while an undefined business gets struck by competition and on most occasions, lives to survive.

What does your tone of voice do for you?

1. It embodies you and your team

Your tone of voice expresses your brand’s personality by using the type of vocabulary and written style which convey your true values. It is a reflection of you and your employees and, as such, it connects you with people. People buy people, and equally, people buy brands.

2. It gives you distinctiveness and sets you apart

Your voice makes you recognisable and helps you stand out from the crowd and competition. 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 makes you memorable. I had the amazing opportunity of working with Virgin for six years when I was an account manager at Start Design. Their cheeky tone is at the heart of everything they do, depicting their irreverent personality and setting them apart. You don’t have to see their logo or colours to know this is a Virgin’s ad, you know it. Don’t you just love it?

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3. It positions you as Authority

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 brand 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:

Coca-Cola

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

H&M

We believe in people
We are one team
Straightforward and open-minded
Keep it simple
Constant improvement
Cost-consciousness

Virgin Airlines

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. And remember, you must be the mind behind your brand but your brand is a separate entity. Don’t just use your voice, find its own.

Unsure of your brand’s personality? In the resources library of my website, you can access my new workbook Finding your brand’s personality, which will help you identify your main traits.

3. Telling your story

Your content is a means to express your expertise and 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 really dig inside your business’s greatness and motivate you to express its personality and turn it into a brand. No matter how small you are, you can be a brilliant brand.

The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low cost producer is the only winner.
— Philip Kotler