Most people think about conversations when they hear the word “voice.” But for digital marketers, the word refers to a brand voice and tone of voice. The brand voice represents the unique perspective and values it stands for. On the other hand, the brand tone of voice is the way a brand communicates with its audiences. As such, a brand voice is its overall personality, while a brand tone of voice changes based on the appropriate situation to connect with an audience.

A brand tone of voice is created through the words and phrases you use when conversing with your audiences. It is also how you structure your words and phrases to appeal to customers. A brand tone of voice may be cautious, formal, happy, hostile, salesy, etc. For example, using third-person pronouns like “he,” “she,” or “it” may sound formal and objective. But using the first-person pronoun like “you” may sound approaching and friendly. As such, a brand tone of voice describes how people perceive your messaging. This has a great impact on your content delivery among online websites and social media posts.

WHAT IS A BRAND TONE OF VOICE?

A digital marketing speaker Hong Kong defines a brand tone of voice as the international tone use by a brand when posting images, sounds, videos, and written copies online. The most common brand tones of voice in social media are dark, dreary, energetic, fear-inducing, helpful, kind, light-hearted, sad, upbeat, and wholesome. For example, if you want to promote a brand as entertainment for people who love adventure and excitement, an upbeat tone makes sense. But if you want to scare people to buy a certain type of insurance, a fear-inducing tone makes sense.

A brand tone of voice may vary depending on several factors. These include:

  • The audience persona
  • The content format and length
  • The goal a brand wants to achieve

Yet, even though there are some situational changes, the overall tone should be consistent with the brand voice. This is to help people recognize your brand by the content alone even if they don’t see your brand name or logo.

WHY IS A BRAND TONE OF VOICE IMPORTANT?

Setting the right brand tone of voice is the key to a persuasive marketing strategy. It conveys your message powerfully among your target audiences and influences them to take action on your content. A social media agency Hong Kong notes the following reasons why a brand tone of voice is important. 

  • A caring and friendly brand tone of voice helps build a connection with your audience. Around 65% of customers noted that they feel emotionally connected to a brand that cares about them. This gives you more chances to offer a solution to their pain points which results in more revenue and sales.
  • A socially responsible brand tone of voice helps you build trust. 81% of modern consumers prefer to buy from a brand that reflects their social values. Highlighting charitable works, donations, and socially responsible acts can make your brand stand out among your competitors.
  • A consistent brand tone of voice makes you memorable. A brand tone of voice does not only involve language and writing. It also involves visuals like colors, logos, and themes. As you establish a consistent pattern for people to recognize your brand, it makes your brand memorable to them. 

WAYS TO APPLY BRAND TONE OF VOICE

Below are 5 ways on how to apply the brand tone of voice effectively. 

  • Audit your current brand tone of voice. The first step to applying brand tone voice effectively is to audit your current strategies. You may find your brand tone of voice greatly varies resulting in misalignment and inconsistencies with a brand’s true voice. This may be because different content creators and writers are assigned to deliver your content strategy. It may also be smart to check which content or voice is top-performing. From this audit, you can note what tones or traits you would like to focus on. 
  • Create a brand voice document. After the audit, brainstorm with your team on what brand tone of voice to focus on. After deciding, create a brand voice document. This will serve as a guide on the colors, designs, graphics, style, words, etc. that multiple departments will be using to apply your brand tone of voice in every content. The document should begin with a general brand voice – the company’s core goals and values. Then, pull some personal tones or traits from this statement to be your brand tone of voice. Include a list of brand phrases, common vocabulary, and examples to keep marketing copies and social media posts consistent. 
  • Identify your target personas. Even with a brand voice document, it is also important to identify your target personas. This is to creatively adapt your tone of voice to the right type of people. For example, if you are targeting younger audiences, you may want to use languages that resonate with them. Using unfamiliar or very technical terms may isolate your content over them. Yet, don’t go too far away from your brand’s overall voice. Be creative in choosing the right words that blend with your audiences and brand voice. Moving forward, as you go through each audience persona, add a list of common vocabulary ad traits on your brand voice document. 
  • Know your brand tone of voice. After a series of content creation, you can now identify what your brand tone of voice should be. It is what you say and how you say it. Be exciting when announcing new products and how they solve the audiences’ pain points. Maintain the same tone when responding to customer complaints. Try to shift a complaint into an opportunity to get a sale or an upgrade. The key is to keep your brand tone of voice positive in different categories and scenarios. 
  • Review and adapt to the right brand tone of voice. Applying a brand tone of voice is not a one-time effort. Rather, it is a continuous process. It should be refined and reviewed as needed. Typically, marketers update their brand tone of voice every year. But they should also do it for every branding overhaul, major brand event, new product launch, etc. Languages also evolve from time to time, especially on the Internet where innovation is fast-moving. The terms people used 5 years ago might no longer be accepted today. 

Reference: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/brand-voice/