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5 tips for developing your brand’s tone of voice

Do you know what’s the best and most effective tone of voice to use in your marketing or how to develop it? Here are some tips.

At some point in our youth, someone will most likely have told us to “watch that tone”.

Maybe a conversation was getting too heated; perhaps we were just displaying some teenage rebellion; maybe someone was just getting on our nerves.

As adults, though, we don’t spend too much time ‘watching that tone’ – we’re grown-ups and we know what tone of voice to use in different situations.

But do you know what’s the best and most effective tone of voice to use in your marketing or how to develop it?

Tone of voice is the personality a business creates to communicate with its target audience to build brand recognition and connect deeply with an audience.

It’s the language you use in your printed communications; the way in which you respond to customers on social media; the words you use in your responses in live chat.

Here’s some tips for developing your brand’s tone of voice:

1. Identify your brand’s core values

Think about people you know and the tone of voice they use, and you’ll soon realise that that tone of voice is founded in the person’s values and beliefs – and it’s the same with branding.

A brand’s values can feel abstract and a little hard to define, and if you don’t already have values in place, it’s worth getting the whole company involved.

Run a workshop and ask your people what they believe the brand’s current values are, and what they should be. Then prioritise the values you feel best reflect the brand.

2. Define your audience

Knowing your audience is the cornerstone of effective marketing, and there are several ways you can do this.

You might want to run focus groups or market research, which will help you discover what they want, what obstacles they are facing, how they consume marketing, and what they best respond to.

You can also run some social media and website analytics for more detailed buying information.

Many companies find creating audience personas helpful. An accounting firm, for example, might create Mary, a mid-level finance worker in a mid-sized accounting firm, who has little time and prefers information in short, sharp bites, and who will call rather than email. This description of a specific persona helps to inform the way in which this type of person should be marketed to in an effective way.

3. Audit your current tone of voice

Whether you’ve specifically created a tone of voice or not, you already have one.

If you haven’t developed a tone of voice, chances are the one you’re using is the one identified by whoever creates your communications, based on what they believe are the values and personality of the brand.

Start by reviewing your website and social media, identifying common traits in the tone of voice, and detailing any inconsistencies. Then determine where the current tone of voice reflects your brand values and where it falls short, and if it’s meeting the needs and expectations of the audience.

4. Get clear on your brand’s personality

Identifying your brand personality can feel slightly odd, given your brand is not a person.

A great place to start is by listing traits. You might want your brand to be cheeky and playful; perhaps serious and professional; you might want your brand to be kind, compassionate and thoughtful.

Start putting together these traits, and you’ll see your brand’s personality begin to form.

5. Create brand voice guidelines

Without clear direction, people tend to fall back to what they’ve been comfortable doing, and in terms of tone of voice, that means communicating in the same way you always have. That’s why it’s important to have a tone of voice guide, which forms part of your marketing strategy.

The tone of voice guide should cover tone, style, and messaging. It can be helpful to include a list of preferred words or phrases and those to avoid. A simple ‘Do and Don’t’ section can make it a lot easier to understand.

Speak to the marketing experts

When developing and using a distinct tone of voice, it requires intention, a clear marketing strategy, and following brand guidelines.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, experts in all areas of marketing and skilled at developing unique tones of voice for businesses.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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