Tone of voice is part of your brand identity: it represents how you address your target audience and can determine the effectiveness of your message. Here's what it is and why it's important in marketing.
The world is beautiful because it is varied, says a famous proverb.
Do you agree?
In fact, each of us is unique, and every person you meet has distinctive features, from facial features to fingerprints. Not only that, even the way we express ourselves makes us different from each other.
Think about everyone you know: there are those who are always nice and polite, those who are a little more pushy or brash, those who are more shy and reserved... Some people say so much in so few words, others talk and talk, but never seem to get to the point.
The fact is that the way you express yourself influences your communication, to the point of changing (for better or worse) what others perceive-that is, you may compromise what you are saying because of as you're saying that.
And, of course, exactly the same thing applies in marketing!
Yeah, because when promoting your brand, you should not only be concerned about the quality of the content you put out, the channels you use, the consistency with your positioning and identity... but also the tone of voice with which you address the recipients of your message.
Have you ever heard of them?
Literally, it translates to "tone of voice"-essential in verbal language, it also takes on incredible importance in your written content.
You know, often in branding work we focus a lot on the visual aspect of a brand, from fonts to colors, from the graphics to design. Once you have a well-defined logo, you might think that's all you need to tackle the market: however, you forget that what matters, in addition to all that, is how you approach your audience.
This is because your brand is more than just your company name: it represents your values, beliefs and market philosophy.
The tone of voice then defines the characteristics of your communication; if unique and recognizable, it helps you stand out from the rest by giving you personality, which is more important nowadays than ever to stand out from the mass of digital chatter.
But you already know this: in the chaos of content offered online, you have only seconds to grab your target audience's attention and keep it. A clear and distinctive tone of voice is precisely among the tools at your disposal to accomplish this.
Okay, but what exactly is it? And why is it so important to any self-respecting marketing strategy?
I'll explain it to you right now!
What is tone of voice?
Imagine you are at a dinner party with friends, where there is the one who every time knows how to entertain by telling stories and anecdotes in an engaging way: the words he uses, his language, and his personality come together to create a real experience for the listener. So it happens that every time you hear such a story, you immediately think of him.
Okay, now imagine that person represents your brand: if so, what personality traits would he have and how would he express himself in front of others? Which words would he choose and which would he avoid altogether? Would he or she be serious or funny? Formal or friendly?
Here, the answer to questions like this gives you a sense of what your tone of voice might look like, which would come out in each of your messages, from the newsletter to social media posts, from the email To advertisements.
So how can we define it?
The tone of voice is the way in which the character of your business emerges from your words: it's not about what you say, but rather about as you say it. It is directly responsible for the impression you make on your audience.
This includes not only the words you choose, but also the order, style, and rhythm. It does not mean writing well or creating a strong message, but knowing how to use language to give your communication a distinct and recognizable imprint.
There are different types: it can be cold and institutional, serious and assertive, colloquial and informal or ironic and friendly.
From websites to tweets, brochures to videos, your tone of voice is everywhere and applies to all channels and audience touch points. It reflects not only your brand personality, but also your goals and values, helping you connect with your target audience and stand out from the competition.
While it may change from time to time, depending on the target audience, the media, the content formats you use, and the end goal you are pursuing, it should be consistent In every piece of content you offer. This is to entice the audience to trust you and recognize you: when people read your words they should always know it is you.
Brand voice and tone of voice: what is the difference?
Perhaps you have yet come across this other expression, brand voice, and so now you are wondering what is the difference with the tone of voice of your brand.
I'll explain it right away.
Although the two concepts are related (and have similar names), brand voice and tone have two distinct purposes.
The brand voice represents your brand's unique perspective and the values it stands for-in other words, it is your brand's identity and personality, which is reflected in the positioning In the marketplace. It is what makes you unique and recognizable and allows your audience to understand who you are; it is one and only one.
The tone of voice, as we said before, is instead how you decide to communicate with your audience, including word choice, communication style, and emotional tone. This can change based on what is most appropriate for each situation and reflects the mood and feelings of your writing, helping you connect with your audience through your content.
Basically, your voice does not change, but the tone should, depending on the feeling you are trying to convey.
To understand this better, think about yourself: as an individual, you have a distinct perspective and personality, which remain essentially the same throughout your daily interactions. However, the way you talk to people in each of these interactions is different, isn't it?
7 reasons why tone of voice is important
Albert Mehrabian, an American psychologist, is famous for his theory that communication is always composed of three parts, which affect its effectiveness in different ways: the words you use for 7%, the tone of voice for 38%, and body language for 55%.
So, if you think about written content, for example, where you can't use facial expressions or posture to support what you say (you could if you ever did in a video), the tone you take carries no small amount of weight.
Not only that, it can give you a whole range of advantages and make your communication particularly functional to your goals.
#1 Makes you human
Beyond the rational benefits, buyers of all kinds look for values and emotions behind an offer or brand. And how to make them explicit? With tone of voice!
It expresses the personality of your brand, making it less fictitious and more tangible. After all, people like to deal with people: it is essential that they perceive how there is a human being behind that product or service, whom they can recognize and bond with.
#2 Helps you influence and persuade
Someone once told me, "People don't always remember what you say or what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel."
Do you agree?
In fact, you often have to "sell without selling" in your content, and this is where a good tone of voice is really helpful (by the way, if you haven't yet read my article on persuasive copywriting, you can find it here).
The words you use shape the way your customers see you and can help you build an emotional connection with them. And that emotional connection is what will help establish first a sale and then a continued relationship: a study published some time ago sinceHarvard Business Review demonstrated how involvement is more important than customer satisfaction when you try to get the customer to act as you wish.
#3 Builds loyalty and trust
Most of the time, whether you like someone has a lot to do with their tone of voice, including how they talk to you, make you feel or treat you in general.
The same goes for your brand: tone of voice is one of the most powerful ways to express your identity and gain customer loyalty and trust. Your job is to make sure it is consistent with your image and the message you are conveying in every piece of content you create.
You know, there is a strong connection between familiarity and trust. Because something familiar takes little effort to mentally process, we are more likely to feel comfortable about it because we know what to expect. Thinking this way, you must be consistent in your use of language so that your writing becomes familiar to the client. Creating a specific tone of voice, therefore, plays a crucial role in this.
#4 Helps you differentiate yourself
It's not what you say, it's how you say it that gets you attention and credibility.
I already mentioned this to you at the beginning: in the chaos of the content marketing digital, a distinctive brand tone gives you the best chance of connecting with people.
A well-defined tone of voice can help you stand out from the competition by communicating efficiently and effectively with your audience. It can make your brand memorable because it creates a connection and a bond of trust in the minds of your consumers. And with that connection, people will be more engaged, which will impact your sales and revenue.
#5 Builds authority
Think of TED talks or other conferences you've attended: did the speaker stand perfectly still, reciting boring but compelling facts in a relentlessly monotone voice? Or was he lively, funny and memorable, filling the stage with his passion? And what effect did this have on your perception?
Exactly, it's like when you say "setting a tone" to establish your credibility.
Tone of voice can be a huge carrier of authority and conviction: it helps you show your experience and expertise in this regard, showing confidence and trust in what you say.
#6 Gives you concentration
Working on tone of voice can be a great tactic for thinking about your company's identity. By having to reduce everything to something clear and simple that anyone can understand, this automatically helps you eliminate clutter and confusion.
Your tone can also help you set a strategic direction, identifying the characteristics of your brand personality that allow you to grow in increasingly crowded and competitive markets and focusing on the niche (or segments) that are most relevant to you.
#7 Makes you consistent
The audience expects consistency in your communication: if you are serious one day and making jokes the next, this can be confusing. Kind of like when you're dealing with a moody person and you never know how to take it.
Yes, it is just like in a relationship: consistency in behavior helps to understand each other, creating closeness and intimacy, which in turn results in mutual trust and loyalty.
A few suggestions
Defining a tone of voice for your brand should be an essential part of your strategy to content marketing. It is a complex process and there is a lot to decide before you even start; it is much more than choosing key words or putting a few sentences together.
If you are wondering how to find your tone of voice and leverage it in your communication, here are some brief tips.
Of course, the starting point is always the definition of who you are, what you do and the values that represent you: before you can think about how you write, you have to decide what to write. So ask yourself, what do you want to say to the world? Only after you have defined the main purpose of your communication can you begin to build your tone of voice. This will help you not only find the words to communicate effectively, but also connect better with your customers.
The next step is the understanding of who is your audience: with a clear idea of what their needs or requirements are, you can develop a vision of what your brand wants to say and determine how to use the right language to convey your message.
With these elements, you can define your brand's tone of voice: remember that it should always be distinct, consistent, practical, engaging and relevant. And it should come across as personal, appropriate and trustworthy by your target audience.
Your tone of voice represents your business: it helps you communicate your brand identity and values, creating trust, credibility and authority in people's eyes.
This explains why it is important for it to be consistent and recognizable and why thinking about it more strategically should be a key part of your branding and marketing strategy.
Tone of voice transforms your business into something tangible and human that people can rely on when needed.
What about you, have you found yours yet?