What is a brand tone of voice?

We examine brand tone of voice and why it’s essential to driving effective communication with customers and employees.

We examine brand tone of voice and why it's essential to driving effective communication with customers and employees.

If you could imagine a brand as a real person, their tone of voice would be how they speak. More precisely, it’s their mannerisms, their language style and their specific use of words that reinforce the brand.

Why is it important to develop a brand tone of voice?

A brand’s tone is how the brand’s character comes through when communicating with the consumer. Even more importantly, it leaves a lasting impression on how unique and distinct the brand can be while communicating.

As marketing becomes more digital, brand tone of voice becomes even more critical.

Communication is one of the essential pillars of a brand’s image, and the brand tone extends that. Brands face daily opportunities to engage with consumers through social media, online, and digital customer service channels. Communication occurs through captions of social media posts, blogs, email marketing or even replying to comments and messages,

It’s integral for a brand to have a defined and consistent tone of voice. It represents the brand’s values and personality, as it shines through in communication.

Examples of brand tone of voice in communication.

Below we look at how some well-known brands communicate through tone of voice.

Netflix:

One example of a big brand having a very distinctive tone of voice is Netflix. The content streaming giant promotes their latest shows and films using a casual, playful, and humorous tone, with frequent memes. We note their use of lowercase copywriting, too, appealing to a younger demographic.

Coca-Cola:

The market leader of soft drinks for more than a century, Coca-Cola ensures a consistent tone of voice in their communications. Their tone is evident in the brand tagline, ‘taste the feeling,’ which exudes joy and happiness. Exclamation marks support dynamic language and an upbeat tone for emphasis across campaigns. Across mainstream advertisements and social media – the brand reinforces its image as a lifestyle brand that brings people together; as a source of happiness and joy.

Nike:

‘Just Do It.’ is one of the world’s most famous slogans. Nike is synonymous with motivation and aspiration as a fitness and lifestyle brand. In their campaigns and linguistic choice of words, Nike reinforces the idea of being confident and motivated to do anything. Words such as “believe”, “sacrifice”, and “motivate” are famous in their social media captions and campaigns. Nikes uses short sentences to communicate their message concisely, supported by brand images of athletes staring ahead, searching for inspiration.

How to create a brand tone of voice?

The first step to creating a brand tone of voice is a profound understanding of your target audience. 

Who are they, and what value are they seeking from businesses such as yours?

Understanding how your audience communicates enables you to consciously engage with their vernacular and tone of voice when they talk to one another.

The second step is to understand how you aim to position your brand. Is it a playful brand such as Disney? Is it warm and welcoming? Or a direct and trusting brand like a bank? 

Turn to your brand image and core values; they are of utmost importance here!

Ask yourself how you would like to be perceived by your consumers and employees, with questions such as ‘Who are we?’ and ‘Who would we like us to be?’.

Finally, refine your tone with a list of characteristics and adjectives of how you would like to sound; funny, serious, trustworthy, cheerful, trendy, enthusiastic.

Once you have a clear idea of your tone of voice, you can implement it into your communication channels to engage with your audience.

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