Part 3 – Voice of an angel
Tone of voice is the difference between The Sun’s puntastic front page screamer headlines and The Telegraph’s more sober approach. It’s the chasm between Love Island and Last of the Summer Wine. It’s why we expect to hear the latest slang on TikTok but we’d squirm if the Queen used it in a broadcast.
When it comes to your brand, it needs to be consistent. OK, you’ll need to flex slightly. You’re not going to sound the same when you’re announcing a dozen redundancies as when you’re celebrating opening a new premises.
But the essence should be the same. If you’re all about clarity and plain-speaking, you should be clear and accessible no matter what you’re saying.
Tone of voice: invisible branding
Even businesses that get all excited about the branding process often neglect their tone of voice. But they do it at their peril.
A distinctive brand tone of voice deployed consistently is an important aspect of a brand that helps build a connection with consumers. Tone of voice is how you convey a personality within all communications, and it should remain constant. It is usually to be found in brand guidelines. Everyone should understand what it is and ensure that it is constantly checked across all communications. A great article about tone of voice can be found on the Semrush website, so we won’t reinvent the wheel here.
Could you hazard a guess at Uber’s tone of voice? The answer is at the end of the blog.
Grammar – It may not matter in WhatsApp, but it still matters in business.
Brands should determine a set of rules to live by that will protect the representation of the brand through the written word. Pitfalls to watch out for include the capitalisation of certain brand services or products, forced capitalisation or other nuances. Other grammatical consistencies should be monitored and rationalised such as the use of bullet points and full stops. Always consider the marketing channel and the audience. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you read it?
Did you know?
‘Generation Z, have grown up with smartphones, sending short messages without full stops. A study from Binghamton University in New York suggested that people who finish messages with full stops are perceived by Gen Z as insincere. Whereas messages ending in an exclamation mark are deemed heartfelt or more profound.’ Source: BBC News, August 2019
Appearing at the end, and sometimes higher up the page, what is the call to action or CTA?
If we don’t have one, then what exactly are we asking the prospect to do next? If we don’t consistently tell them what to do next, we confuse them and then we lose them. Always guide them into taking that next step with a clear and well explained, brand-aligned CTA. Make sure you have it on every piece of communication you create and make it matter; a traceable customer journey through to purchase is extremely valuable in terms of evaluating success.
Uber’s tone of voice: Considerate, simple, direct and consistent.