How and where do you begin creating a specific tone of voice for a brand? Good question. It’s one that at some point you’re going to have to tackle and approach head-on before rolling out any kind of copy that’s representing your brand’s identity.
First impressions count, and you wouldn’t turn up to a group interview and sit there in silence the whole time, as a way of impressing your interviewer, the same way you wouldn’t put a brand out in a pool of other competitors without figuring out their method of communication to/with a wider audience. It will become apparent pretty quickly that you absolutely need a tone of voice in order to build relationships with consumers to gain their trust, time, and ultimately, ask them to believe in you enough to part with their money!
Forming a specific tone of voice can be a complicated process, as there are multiple questions to consider. Although this process will have nuances unique to each brand, there are a couple of key points that will remain consistent throughout the entirety.
Who are you talking to?
Who is your brand trying to target? Who do you want to buy into your business idea/ products? Without necessarily knowing it, you have more than likely created this business idea with a group of people in mind or at least an ideology of who these people would be. Your target audience may be a very specific group of people, or it could be a lot broader – either way, if you were in their shoes, what are the kinds of words you’d want to hear? What would you like to hear from a brand that you love? Defining your target audience is key when initiating your own brand’s personality.
What are your core values as a business?
What do you stand for as a business? Why are you doing what you’re doing? If you ask yourself these questions, your core values will naturally thread through your content, as this is essentially what you believe in as a business and what you want others to believe in with you. If your consumers can resonate with your own core values then you are more than likely going to create a connection and build a relationship based on mutual beliefs.
If you were a person, who would you be?
Every individual has a personality and a unique way of communicating with people. Creating a personified profile for your brand can be a great way to define and develop your own tone of voice. If your brand were a person, who would they be? That way, before writing/saying anything, you can think to yourself would that particular person say those words? Every time you’re speaking as your brand you can jump into character and you have a clear vision of who you are.
‘Totally awesome’ or ‘Absolutely fantastic’?
Finally, get into character and note down a list of words that you would say as that person/as your brand. Can you imagine your brand saying the word ‘crazy!’ or would they say ‘incredible’? Naturally, through elimination, this will also create a list of words that your brand wouldn’t say. Eventually, this may span from words to phrases and you’ll soon have a pocket dictionary that, whenever in doubt, you’ll be able to refer to.
It’s important that your brand’s tone of voice is consistent, otherwise, consumers will begin to question your credibility. Presenting a brand identity that isn’t properly defined limits the customer’s ability to build a meaningful relationship. And that’s the aim of the game.
Remember, always memorise the script before you head out on stage.