How to Create a Consistent Tone of Voice

Your brand's tone of voice should be bold, considered and meaningful. Most importantly, it should always be consistent.

By Cat HowPosted in Ideas

Your brand’s tone-of-voice is the intentional, consistent expression of your brand through words. It is what transforms your brand from a flat, two-dimensional visual into a three-dimensional personality that engages with, and motivates, your audience.

Brand identity is what gives your brand a human quality that can be understood, and is relatable and therefore more memorable, to other humans. Your brand’s tone of voice is what happens when your brand identity opens its mouth to metaphorically speak. The two work in close partnership - a good tone works with (and opens up) a brand’s identity in order to help it stand out.

In a written sense a brand's tone can be expressed by its choice of words, sentence structure and length, and the use of grammatical devices (even down to the inclusion of emojis and if so, which ones these would be). People determine from these written cues whether your brand is funny, posh, friendly or clever. It’s a crucial dimension to a brand that is often overlooked.

By narrowing down on these characteristics, a far richer and more complex personality starts to emerge for your brand which you can then start to weave into copy and tone of voice. If you want to entertain and not take yourself too seriously - perhaps think about using light-hearted slang, playful hashtags or punctuation in an interesting way.

As copywriter Rob Mitchell noted in Design Week recently, "The hard part of any tone of voice project is finding a lateral way to put all the brand stuff into words. Good designers wouldn’t plaster pictures of people doing yoga everywhere for a wellbeing brand. They’d think about the visual cues that could get that idea across more subtly. Tone of voice should do the same. It’s a thinking job as much as it is a writing one. A tone should support and build on the design, not over-explain it."

It is also important to remember that your voice should be bold present - but it should have a message behind it too.

This should be a call-to-action that pushes people to do something. This means your brand is not just broadcasting information (which can soon get boring and repetitive for your audience) but that it has an engaging voice that they relate to, and has them coming back for more.

Taking into account that your brand's tone of voice should be bold, considered and meaningful - perhaps the most important thing overall is consistency. Having the same tone across all of your customers’ touch-points with your brand makes them feel at ease. Familiarity is comforting - they know what to expect from you, and trust you.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that your brand has to say the same things all the time - but you have to be completely in-tune with your brand's distinctive tone and style of content and communication for it to work.

The easiest way to get this as in-tune as possible is to consider the personality of your brand or company. Ask yourself - it was a person, what would they be like? Give your brand three human values - say for example 'honest' 'friendly' 'principled - and keep these in mind every time you produce written content.

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