Looking to build a brand that connects with your audience on a deeper level? Then there’s something you need to know: your brand voice and brand tone are not the same thing.
Confused? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Jess, Head of Marketing and PR, at our Leeds integrated agency is breaking it down for you in this blog.
Imagine it as your best friend’s personality. They might be outgoing, energetic, and always up for an adventure. That’s their voice that sets them apart from everyone else. It’s the same for your brand. To stand out in a crowded marketplace, your brand voice has to be unique.
This is also where you’ll set the elements that shape your writing style – how long will your sentences be? What grammar rules are important? Will you use jargon?
Think of this as the big story you’re telling. What do you want people to feel when they see your marketing?
There’s one catch: you have to be consistent. No matter what copy you’re writing, presentation you’re giving, design you’re creating, your brand voice must be the same. You want them to remember you, or what’s the point?
They’ll still come across as friendly, bright and outgoing, but the way they convey that to the different audiences will look, sound, or feel the same.
It’s the inflection that gives your words meaning, it’s the way you communicate a message or feeling that creates a more purposeful brand experience.
So, remember to always adjust your brand tone to match the channel, audience, and context.
There are four tonal dimensions to keep in mind.
Let’s dive into how one message could be interpreted by each tone. We’ll use this statement: “An error has occurred on this webpage”.
- You can be enthusiastic:
“Oops! We’re really sorry, but we’re having problems on our end. Don’t worry, we’re on it!!”
- Or matter-of-fact:
“We’re having problems on our end. Our engineers are fixing it now.”
- Your tone may be formal:
“Our website is currently down. We apologise for any inconvenience and it will be up and running soon.”
- On the other hand, you could be casual:
“Sorry, we’re currently experiencing issues. We’re working on fixing it now!”
- You can either lean towards being funny:
“Dude, you broke it!! (Just kidding. We’re having problems on our end.)”
- Or, serious:
“We are experiencing difficulties. We apologise.”
- Lastly, your brand tone might be respectful:
“Wish we could have saved you a click. Our website is currently down, please check back later.”
- Or irreverent:
“You must have pressed the wrong button. Try clicking the right link next time.”
Do you get a feel for what each brand may be like by those simple sentences alone? That is brand voice.
Why is it important to differentiate between brand voice and tone?
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service, you won’t build a loyal community that keeps returning time and time again without trust.
How do you get trust? By having a strong brand identity.
Understanding the nuances of tone help you to appear more authentic, human, and enable you to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
Brand voice = demonstrates that you’re reliable
Brand tone that’s flexible = shows your ability to adapt
And a combination of both makes it easier for people to connect with you. People want to feel understood, they want to be seen. If you can make that happen, your audience will naturally gravitate towards you versus a competitor – because that’s all we want at the end of the day, a real, human connection.
By having clear distinction between your brand voice and tone, you’ll make sure you always have content that is relevant to your dream customer or client, and stands out in your industry. Game-changer!
Can you show me an example of brand voice and tone?
Sure can! Let’s say you own a coffee shop and you’ve decided your brand voice is friendly, down-to-earth, and approachable.
If you were promoting a new drink, your tone would be more excited, enthusiastic and informal:
“Attention coffee lovers! Get ready to try our newest creation that will take your taste buds on a wild ride.
Introducing the all-new Caramelicious Delight – a rich and creamy blend of our signature coffee, swirled with caramel syrup, and topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Trust us, one sip and you’ll be hooked!”
But if you were discussing the quality of your coffee beans, your tone would change to be more informative and serious, while keeping your friendly edge:
“Want to know more about how our coffee is made? We understand!
Our specific single-origin blend comes from South America. That means they’re all imported from one farm, in one region. All beans are roasted to bring out their unique flavours. That’s why our OG coffee is so smokey and tastes more like chocolate, than our other combos.
We are big supporters of fair trade practices and sustainable farming methods. We make sure that all our partners are paid a fair price, while protecting the environment and the future of coffee production.”
Are you with us?
How do you create a brand voice?
Creating a brand is fun – it’s a chance to express your mission, values, and personality to the world.
It’s truly the difference between what makes and breaks a brand, so you want to be intentional with each step.
A great place to start is by defining your brand personality. This is the foundation of your voice. Keep your values and beliefs in mind.
Think about three adjectives that describe your brand, and use these as a launch pad. What kind of personality would your brand have if it was a person?
Remember that your brand voice isn’t set in stone. As you, and your brand, grow and evolve, your voice will too. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and tones, testing until you hit the right vibe for your audience. Be open to new ideas and ways of communicating with your community – they’ll thank you for it!
Our Leeds integrated agency can help you every step of the way – in fact, we’re experts on it!
Want to find out more? Email me at [email protected] and let’s chat!