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How your Tone of Voice Impacts your Brand Perception


Blog Article

Are you confident that your existing brand tone of voice reflects your business or brand to its full potential? Does it provide your customers with an insight into your values? Could it be improved or even recreated?

Your communication is your brand, so it’s imperative you get it right. A poor tone of voice can have a hugely negative impact on how your brand is perceived which, once made, is often difficult or impossible to rectify.

As the visibility of a brand expands across multiple channels – both online and offline – a concise and consistent tone of voice becomes ever more essential. It is increasingly key to successful customer engagement and retention and is the primary means of shaping brand conversations.

Why is your brand tone of voice important?

  • It tells prospective or existing customers who you are and what you stand for as a business
  • Unique branding is a point of difference which sets you apart from your competitors
  • It can influence purchasing decisions
  • It forms trust between you and your customers

Your brand tone of voice will largely depend on the nature of your business. If you sell cars, you need to be informative, factual and concise. Financial and educational text needs to be descriptive and easy to digest, whilst remaining primarily formal and factual in tone. If fashion or beauty is the name of the game, then it’s all about descriptive, emotive copy.

Selling a lifestyle and instilling confidence in your prospective or existing customers is key. After all without them, your business would not exist.

Who are you and what do you want to say?

There are some key facts to consider if you are refining an existing tone or creating your brand voice for the very first time. Kate Meyer of Neilsen Norman Group identified that …

‘…the tone of any piece of content can be analysed along 4 dimensions: humour, formality, respectfulness, and enthusiasm’.

You can read more on this here.

Research is essential when you are updating or creating your tone of voice. If you do not understand the basics of your company, you won’t get it right. You need to discover or decide which style of communication suits your branding.

It is useful to consider four key factors when honing your tone. Is your brand or business:

  • Humorous or serious?
  • Formal or casual?
  • Respectful or irreverent?
  • Emotive or matter-of-fact?

Once you have decided upon these factors the style of your communication will start to become clear. This is when you can begin to build out your channels of communication, from your typeface to your social media profiles.

Understanding your customer

Intrinsic to a successful brand perception is the creation of key customer profiles. This is an essential part of ensuring your branding appeals to your target consumer base.

Before you decide upon your final profiles, consider who you are targeting in terms of:

  • Demographic
  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income

This will immediately help you to pinpoint your messaging. For example if you are a high fashion brand, your target demographic is unlikely to engage with or convert from communication themed around technical information and vice versa.

Detailed research into your target customer base will ensure you are achieving a tone which appeals to both existing and prospective customers whilst simultaneously pitching your brand to its best advantage.

It’s also important not to undervalue your messaging once you have decided upon it. Brands who rely on heavy discounting and promotional activity to drive sales run the risk of compromising their perception by undervaluing their brand messaging. Value for money is often desirable, being perceived as ‘cheap’ is not.

Who does it well?

We’re all loyal to brands which we feel resonate with us and our lifestyle and this is largely driven by effective, desirable branding.

Two brands which effectively utilise their tone of voice to appeal to their target demographic are:

Seasalt

What makes them so good?

  • Excellent understanding of their target demographic
  • True to their branding and heritage – based around their location in Cornwall
  • Communication is uniform across all channels
  • Their packaging is an extension of their brand with location based images and phrases

seasalt-image

Boden

  • British branding is intrinsic to their message – London location shoots are typical
  • Emphasis on quality – 365 day return policy
  • Communication such as email and mailed catalogues are often personalized which helps the customer feel valued

boden

Communicating your principles

As well as communicating with your customer base it’s wise to consider communicating the key points of your brand messaging to your staff to ensure they’re always keeping the customer in mind.

How you choose to do this will vary depending on the nature of your business but some useful means of communication include:

  • Customer profile cards – featuring age, gender, demographic etc. May also be of value to use a photo to really emphasise who this person is
  • New starter training – ensure all new members of your business understand your messaging and what you are aiming to communicate
  • Displaying documents in key places – noticeboards, by telephones, by the entrance to the shop floor if applicable
  • Style guide – share with third parties if applicable to ensure your messaging is replicated and utilised correctly

An overview

Your brand tone of voice is an ever-evolving entity that will grow and develop with your business. Nothing is ever set in stone – you can evolve your branding as you develop as a brand.

Regularly reviewing and, if necessary, refreshing your communication is key to ensuring you are conversing with your customers in the most efficient, effective way. This in turn is likely to foster brand loyalty and repeat purchasing.

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