Tone of Voice

by • March 20, 2017 • ArticlesComments Off on Tone of Voice2273

I was talking to a friend about the tone of voice work I do. She looked at me with a puzzled look and asked, ‘but why does tone of voice matter’? The question really got me thinking so I thought I’d share it.

First things first – what is ‘tone of voice’? Well, tone of voice is what you say and how you say it.

It’s the personality we inject into the way we speak. It’s the words we use and the pace, style and rhythm of our sentences that bring our identity to life. Do we use short, punchy sentences with lots of energy and contractions, or do we use more verbose sentences and converse in a formal manner? Do we say hi, hello, howdy or good day? You get the gist… But the thing to remember here is that it isn’t just verbal communication we’re talking about. It’s written communication too. And we’re not just talking about individual people – we’re also talking about brands.

Let’s look at an example. Here are two well-known train companies inviting customers to get in touch on their contact page:

Great Western Rail

Whether you have a question, or just want to give us some feedback, we’re waiting to hear from you.

Virgin Trains

Need a hand? Or just fancy a chinwag? We’re here to answer any questions you might have…

They’re saying pretty much the same thing, but you can see how the difference in tone and language makes it distinctive to their personality.

But why does it matter to your brand?

Connect on a higher level

In a world inundated with choice, picking the right product can be a little overwhelming. That’s why these days, customers buy into more than just a product; they buy into brands. That means they’re reaching out to your brand personality, values and what you stand for to see if they can find something that resonates with them.

And that’s where your tone of voice comes in. One of the ways to live and breathe those qualities is by the way you communicate. The way someone speaks to you can evoke an emotion. Sometimes it’s a positive, warm feeling, and sometimes not so much. But that feeling sticks. So when you speak to a customer and they like how you make them feel, this sets you apart from another brand with a similar product. Your tone of voice helps them choose you.

Create identity and consistency

Your tone of voice makes you unique and recognisable. And when you have it down to a tee it means everyone within your brand can write and talk in the same way. So when consumers read your marketing emails, hear your radio advert, call your customer service advisors or message your team on twitter, they’re hearing the same voice across all customer touch points – on and offline.

Build stronger relationships

Customers warm to a brand when they’re reliable and familiar. A consistent and relatable tone of voice puts customers in the right frame of mind, so they know what they’re getting. This leads to having better conversations on a more human level. And what happens next? It helps build trust and loyalty, and gives customers the confidence to keep coming back to you.

One of the most obvious brands to mention here is, you guessed it… Innocent. They fly the flag for having an original and dare we say it, ‘quirky’ tone of voice – so much so that many other brands have been inspired to build a similar tone. When I picked up the phone and called their customer service line I was greeted with “Hello, Innocent banana phone”. This made me smile – it was so very them. They met my expectations straight away with just four words. Instantly, I felt like I’d bonded with them just that little bit more.

So there you have it. That’s why tone of voice matters. Because it’s is a tool that reflects your brand’s personality and connects with your customers. A decent tone of voice will give you a strong identity that stands out in a world of products and choices. It keeps your existing customers coming back for more, and helps bring new customers on board. It also means everyone who works for your brand is singing from the same hymn sheet – and doesn’t that sound delightful.

Thanks for reading and if you’d like to talk about your tone of voice we’d love to hear from you.

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