What is Tone of Voice?

Tone of voice is an important part of your communication strategy. It will help you to express the line of your brand. If you choose it correctly, the tone of voice will allow you to take a sympathy and earn a confidence of your target audience. So, let's start!

The tone of voice: What is it?

Tone of voice is a way, which your brand speaks with.  It keeps values of the brand, its philosophy and relation to its audience.   The first thing you should do is defining a style and pick expressions for your texts and messages. Big brands always specify the tone of voice in their Brand Books. They pay a lot of attention to this issue: They describe on details everything: from quantity of words to letterings. But the best description is clear description. For example, in Skype brand book they say: “We always explain our services with simple words. If your mom didn’t understand what it is written about - that’s not the tone of voice of Skype.”

A tone of voice allows you to speak with your audience in common language. The language, which is clear to them.  A description of tone of voice always includes description of words, expressions and patterns, which are to be used. This description is always based on your knowledge of your target audience.

Why do you need a tone of voice?

  • It helps to build deeper emotional bonds with your target audience;
  • to make a more pleasant expression and present values of brand;
  • to build long-term relations  with your target audience (the relations define their behavior at purchase);
  • distinguish among competitors.

How to find your tone of voice?

The main purpose of tone of voice is a contact with the target audience. Do not try to form it as you like. The task for the brand is to be liked by TA. That is why you should study your audience carefully, or those audiences, which your communications will be directed to. It would be perfect if you could have a conversation with its representatives personally. But, do not forget the main point: you should talk to them not only about the product. Talk about everything: a life, interests, favorite books, movies, music, what they like and what they hate and so on.

To speak the language of your audience you should learn it. Found their favorite publics, forums and pages. Study carefully what they write, what words and expressions they use (you may even ask the meaning of unknown slang words).  Be in trend!

Pay your special attention to emotional triggers:

  • What makes them to laugh?
  • What seems sad to them?
  • What seems touching to them?
  • What makes them to fear?
  • What is annoying to them?
  • What makes them to be proud?
  • What does invoke empathy?
  • What does invoke angriness?
  • Is there any algorithm of their making of decisions?
  • Why other couldn’t earn their attention and loyalty?

Create your rules for the tone of voice. List the words and expressions.  Additionally, list words and expressions, which are definitely not suitable for your TA.

You should use your tone of voice at any channel for communications with them (company’s website, customer supports, social media, etc). If you have a big brand with many departments in different cities and countries - following of a single tone of voice is obligatory.  

Additionally, if your brand is oriented not only to English language audience, you may face with a problem of translation. Do not use a direct translation to the foreign language. Sometimes it can lead to losing of your tone and the foreign language audience will not be able to understand you. It is better to ask professionals for this purpose.

So, as we could see, a brand is not only your company, a logo, a slogan and a product. It is something more. It is an idea, which makes your audience to feel your spirit and forms their loyalty to your brand. A tone of voice should be recognizable, as well as close to your customers. That is why you should study your audience carefully to pick your unique and recognizable tone of voice. Because people accept those things, which are close to their lives, wishes and necessities. Remember about them all the time. Think what you can do to harmonically involve your brand into their lives. Tell them that want mostly. Be honest and sincere with them!