Turning Brand Voice into Tone
By Raels | 28 September 2017
Once you understand the unique values that are the reason your customers choose you, you need to turn the rough sketch you have for your brand voice into a distinctive tone of voice. You now need to go from ideas to the actual language you’ll use.
You’ll discover and define your style, and then create concrete guidelines for everyone in your organisation to use.
Formal vs. Informal
The obvious place to start is the right level of formality. This depends both on your industry and on your specific brand personality. In terms of industry, some industries use more casual language than others. A bank or tech company might use more formal language because they want to emphasise the core values of security and reliability, while a smoothie shop or e-commerce video game dealer might use a casual tone that resonates more with their audience.
Here is an example of just how profound differences in formality can be:
“We would like to inform you that we are releasing a new line of speakers that we believe have no comparison in today’s market.”
“Get ready for a real listening experience! Check out the new speakers we’ve got coming out next month. They are guaranteed to blow you away!”
These two examples say the same thing but the differences in tonal formality communicate the message in very different ways.
In general, the less technical language, the better. But again, this really depends on your target audience. Consider these two examples for a food safety test kit:
“Our new enzyme immunoassay for the quantitative analysis of aflatoxin in feedstock offers faster incubation time and a detection limit of <1.7 ppb.”
“Our new food safety test kit helps you check for and assess aflatoxin in feedstock even faster and more accurately than before.”
The first example would be suitable for a B2B company where your customers have a high level of technical skill. But for more everyday consumers, you would want to make it more accessible.
Colloquialisms and Accents
Finally, there may also be a particular accent or colloquial dialect that speaks to your audience. For example, the email newsletter for a ranch theme park in the American West might say something like:
“Howdy there, buckaroos! There’s all kinds of doin’s goin’ on at the Sandusky Ranch this Saturday!”
You should use colloquialisms and accents with care however. Using the wrong one or being too heavy-handed can really backfire and turn off potential customers.
These are just a few things to consider when translating your brand voice into tone and style. Once you have established some initial guidelines, put them into action and test and monitor to see how they are received and then tweak accordingly.