In my line of work, tone of voice isn’t a thing. It’s actually two things: Voice and Tone.
Many AMJ clients mistakenly think of them as one and the same. While the differences can be subtle, they are very different brand style attributes.
But both are key to good communication. They shape your brand, and your customers’ perception of it: How you say something is as important as what you are saying. Connecting with audiences means talking to them in a style they can relate to and enjoy–or find compelling.
Understanding who your audiences are (establishing audience segments and marketing personas are both important undertakings) will go a long way in helping your brand establish its authentic voice and tone.
Once your voice and tone are clear, your word choice, sentence structure, content, email headlines, calls-to-action, and every single other communication element and touchpoint will become much easier to execute. And more successful.
So, what are voice and tone, exactly?
Voice = personality
Your brand’s voice is essentially its personality, it’s character, and should be consistent across all of your content and platforms. Once you establish your brand’s voice, consider the descriptors that will articulate the right feel to your internal and freelance creative team.
Is your brand voice…
-Friendly or formal?
-Inspiring or grounded?
-Youthful or mature?
-Confidant or relatable?
-Technical or user-friendly?
-Authoritative or approachable?
These examples are neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive. For instance, a brand can be both technical and user-friendly, or it can be both authoritative and approachable. Either way, figuring out where on the spectrum your brand falls is an important strategic conversation and valuable exercise. From there, you can communicate the elements of your brand’s voice to your team and follow up regularly to make sure the voice is being expressed the way you envision.
Tone = mood
Just like a person’s mood, tone can shift depending on the situation, audience, and platform. Blogs, social posts, emails, website copy, and packaging may each call for a slight variation in tone. Generally speaking, you can dial up the fun and humor on social outlets and in blog posts. White papers, case studies, and other types of long-format content tend to be more buttoned-up.
Here are some sample tone descriptors:
-Sarcastic (you’d be surprised)
While both a strategic and creative undertaking, crafting your brand’s voice and tone can–and should be– a fun process. Not to mention, it will lead to some interesting insights about your customers and their perception of your brand.
What’s your brand’s voice and tone? If you’re not sure, contact AMJ. We’ll can help you figure it out.