Tone of voice (TOV) isn’t about what you say, it’s how you say it. From social posts and blogs to emails and presentations, crafting a unique brand voice has never been so important.
Your business tone of voice plays a huge role in your brand persona and shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only does it cover the written word, but the spoken too, spanning online, offline, and face-to-face interactions.
With customers more spoilt for choice than ever (you only need to search for burger restaurants near you to see how saturated the market can get), your business needs a clearly defined voice to ensure you stand out from the competition.
So, which brands are doing their tone of voice right? Here are some of our top picks:
Skittles’ tone of voice can be described in one word – weird. If you’re looking for a chuckle, have a scroll down their Twitter feed. You might not come away from it entirely informed on their products, but you’ll certainly have a clear taste of their distinct tone of voice.
Octima Top Tip: Uniqueness is key when it comes to crafting a memorable brand voice – if your customer can recognise your brand without your logo or name attached, then you’re doing it right. (Skittles certainly have that nailed).
Reading anything written by Slack is like speaking directly to a human. Their tone of voice is personal and stripped back. There’s no fluffy language or complex lingo. To the customer, this can humanise the brand, creating a one-to-one experience as though they’re being directly spoken to, without taking away from the professionalism of the business identity. In fact, Slack’s guidelines specifically say:
“The best thing to do is think of this voice as an extension of your own voice. Clear, concise, and human. If you stick to those things, you can’t go far wrong. Whatever you’re trying to say, think about how you would explain it first.” – Slack
Frida Baby takes the romance out of parenthood, replacing it with reality, using humour and relatability. Frida Baby connects to their customers through witty titles and candid copy that is distinct to them. With product titles such as ‘NoseFrida the Snotsucker’ accompanied by descriptions like ‘It’s smart, it’s Swedish, it’s maybe a little strange’, it’s no surprise that their tone of voice is recognised by customers around the globe.
Netflix are a brilliant example of a brand who stay consistent, no matter the content. Their social media presence is laced with sarcasm, which extends into their replies to customer comments. This interaction between brand and buyer is a crucial moment to showcase your individual tone of voice, driving home how you want to be perceived by your customers. Even if that means, as in Netflix’s case, insulting them.
Octima’s how-to guide on Tone of Voice
It’s all well and good looking at the brands that excel in the TOV department, but how can you apply this to your own business?
We’ve pulled together our top tips for creating a tone of voice that is unique to your business, so you can have your voice heard amongst the noise.
Tip 1: Identify your audience
Once you know who you’re speaking to, what they want, and how they go about finding it, you’ll begin to understand the best way to speak to them. Do they want to be approached sweetly? Or perhaps they want authority? To help identify your audience, we suggest you:
- Learn about your customer’s challenges
- Consider how your solutions fit their needs
- Find where your customers hang out
- And meet them there
For more information on how to go about completing these steps, head over to our LinkedIn to discover our August 2022 challenge: how to identify, understand, and speak to your audience.
Tip 2: Review your content
By looking back at your past, and current content, you can identify what performed well and what did not. You can also pick up on any common threads, be that the use of a light-hearted tone, comedy, or earnestness.
View your brand as whole, look at what it represents and how it is currently portraying that through its words. Are you happy with the way in which your brand is speaking? If not, perhaps it’s time to change up your tone of voice.
Tip 3: Identify your brand in three words
If your brand identity was boiled down to three words, what would they be? Here at Octima, our three words would be creative, supportive, and authoritative. This is how we, as a brand, identify. However, we then translate these characteristics into our tone of voice – the way in which we speak on our social channels, blog and in printed literature, – which in our case would be creative, engaging, and knowledgeable (we hope you’d agree!).
Is your business quirky, enthusiastic, and bright? Or sophisticated, sincere, and sombre? A nightclub’s tone of voice will be dramatically different to that of a finance company, which is why identifying your individual brand identity is crucial.
Tip 4: Create a style guide and revisit it often
Crafting a detailed style guide for your tone of voice will not only cement your brand’s written and spoken word, but it will also form a guide for both new and existing employees to stick to. Meaning your tone of voice will stay consistent no matter who is writing it. Similarly, we suggest revisiting your style guide often, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of your mind no matter what content you’re creating.
Within a style guide, you should be addressing these topics:
- We are…
- We say…
- We don’t say…
Need a helping hand?
We know that moulding a tone of voice from scratch can be daunting, but at Octima, we work alongside SMEs to help give them the tools and support they need to thrive in this busy, digital marketing space. From tone of voice to content creation, our experienced team works flexibly with you, to suit your requirements, desires, and wishes. Our knowledge becomes your knowledge, and our expertise is there for you when you need it.
Whether it’s for a single campaign or regular monthly support, we can help you get your voice heard.