Whether it’s deliberate or not, the truth is every business has a tone. For some it’s authoritative, for some it’s irreverent but essentially this “tone” is akin to how an enterprise would speak if it had a voice.
Establishing the tone and voice of your business is a key element of marketing and branding. It’s the common denominator that extends right through your website to your advertising and your correspondence. It defines how you sound when you engage with your clientele.
So, let’s delve a little further into setting the tone and voice of your business.
Why tone matters?
The tone of business reflects the nature and intent of a brand. It says “Hey, we’re cutting edge”, “Yo, we’re hip” or “Take note, we’re the expert in our field”.
It sets up a consumer expectation as to what will happen when they engage with that entity – i.e. we’re going to learn something new, we’re going to have some fun, or we’re going to get insight we’ll find nowhere else.
The right tone can allow a business to stand out from its peers. The best tone will see consumers engage with a business and ensure it rises to the top of the recognition pile.
Establishing a tone
Essentially, establishing a tone is about considering how a business would sound if it could speak. What are the words it would use, the images it would employ or the stories that it would tell?
And, of course that directly relates to who a business is talking to. This makes knowing your current and potential customer essential. In other words, who are you trying to reach? What are they looking for?
Then you need to consider exactly how many others have having a similar conversation. i.e. who is your competition and what are they saying, in what way?
Even businesses within the same industry can have very different tones. A long-established fine-dining restaurant might have an authoritative tone, based around quality, service, and prestige. An alleyway pop-up wine bar might come at it from left of field with irreverence, witty catchphrases and a grittier vibe.
A great example of tone
A standout example of tone is available in a service almost every digital marketer knows – MailChimp. This is a brand that could be relegated to the role of the ordinary B2B language and dull prompts to complete group email tasks.
Instead, MailChimp has a highly unique and engaging tone. From the cheeky monkey that is its logo to the quirky little cultural references that form its prompts, MailChimp presents itself as a handy little helper prepared to have some fun.
Take these images for example…
How to use that voice
The tone of a business should extend right through all its marketing materials into its website, Facebook page and blog posts.
A useful tool for ensuring consistency of tone is a voice board. This establishes the type of words, images and sayings that resonate with a brand. Within this voice board there’ll be key phrases, key words and examples of image style, colour and content that reflects how your business speaks, along with a general direction of the feel.
This voice board becomes the pivotal point of your marketing strategy, providing people in-house and externally a reference point when creating content, advertising and marketing materials.
Critically, your voice board will need to be revisited periodically to reflect a changing landscape, trends and altering consumer base.
At Openseed we create intuitive business websites and digital marketing strategies.
We get to the heart of your business message and tone to help your business rank at the front of your consumer’s mind. You can learn more about our services here or contact us directly to learn more about how we can help.