It goes without saying, most businesses want to sound friendly, approachable and likeable. Who wouldn’t? But when it comes to tone of voice, just writing in the ‘Innocent’ voice is no longer enough. The best brands have forged their own style; a style which is original, distinctive and not at all fruity.
These are our top five tips for building a solid tone of voice:
- Live your values
The reason some brands have such a strong and consistent tone of voice is because their language is an extension of their brand values. Businesses like Virgin, Honda and Mal Maison have a clear set of values that underpin everything they do – and their words are just an extension of this.
- Be confident
Too many brands water down their voice, paring it back until it sounds so safe that it’s virtually indistinguishable from their competitors. The most memorable companies have courage, confidence and the drive to develop a clear tone of voice, and follow it through.
- Be consistent
With so many people generating so many communications, it’s no wonder many businesses have an inconsistent tone of voice. The key here is to make sure your in-house writers and agencies have a clear understanding of your brand’s language. This could be a short set of practical guidelines, a workshop or even an in-house brand language guardian.
- Get into character
It may help to think about your brand as a famous personality – someone who shares your values and would appeal to your audience. We’ve had clients mention Richard Attenborough, Roger Moore, even Ben Fogle. Whoever it is, having a well-known voice in your head can make it easier to bring life to your writing.
- Flex to suit your audience
Of course, it’s important that you have a clear tone of voice in mind, but you should always have space to flex within this and adapt your voice for your audience. Just as your voice would change when talking to a client, a best mate, a member of family, your businesses voice should shift too.