What is brand voice and tone?

Updated: Aug 3

Brand voice and tone are crucial tools for communicating effectively with your customers, and you shouldn’t write a single word until you have nailed them down.


These are the core elements of branding, and they ensure your message reaches your audience in a way that resonates with them. You’ve heard of these ideas before, but maybe you’re still wondering, what are brand voice and tone?


Brand voice includes the qualities of your communication that set you apart from the rest. Maybe your brand is inspiring yet humorous, or professional yet warm. Those unique elements help your audience recognise your brand even if your logo, brand name, and other visual identifiers were stripped away. And that’s exactly why it matters.


You want your customers to feel your presence in each word you share. It would be strange to announce your full name every time you called an old friend on the phone, right? They recognise how you sound without the introduction, so that would be unnecessary. The same idea applies to your brand voice.


In marketing, your tone is how you adjust your brand expression depending on the message you want to convey. This involves tapping into your customer’s psyche to understand the types of delivery they appreciate. Does your buyer enjoy a bit of cheeky humour, or would they deem it inappropriate? Do they like inspirational messaging, or would they prefer a more straightforward approach? When you get to know your audience and dig into their motivators, you can develop a tone that caters to them perfectly.


Together, your brand voice and tone create the foundations of your brand expression: that key component that injects your specific personality into every word you share. If you want to build brand loyalty, your expression needs to be reliable, and brand voice and tone guidelines are the tools that will help you achieve that goal.

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Brand voice and tone guidelines


When it comes to implementing your brand expression strategy, there are a few important brand voice and tone guidelines to follow. Keep these ideas in mind to ensure your business’s voice and tone fit your brand perfectly.

- Look to your target audience


In the development phase of your brand voice and tone, you will want to zero in on your audience personas. Who is buying your product or service, and what resonates with them? Here are a few questions to ask yourself to craft a voice and tone that will connect with each customer.

  • Does your audience want you to speak to them like a trusted friend or an industry-leading authority?

  • What are their likes, dislikes, and pain points?

  • Where and how do your customers like to engage with your brand?

  • What are the emotions that drive their purchasing decisions?


- Maintain your voice and tone across all communication


Once you have developed your brand voice and tone, it is essential to apply them to everything from huge marketing campaigns down to your comments on social media. Every word you share is a chance to solidify your voice in the minds of consumers, ensuring they get to know you better each time they hear from your brand.


- Make sure your staff can use your voice and tone


To ensure your voice and tone are consistent across all channels, every staff member must thoroughly understand your voice and tone. You should support each team member with the information and tools they need to communicate using the appropriate language and style for your brand.


- Apply empathy to adapt your messaging


Your voice and tone are not rigid. They should adapt to stay appropriate and engaging, no matter what message you want to convey. Apply empathy to make sure your voice and tone are intact, even if you are delivering an unfortunate update or an apology email.


The best businesses put these guidelines to use, and it makes all the difference in how they connect with customers. Remember that you can adjust your voice and tone as your brand evolves, conducting audits when necessary to ensure they still work well for your business. Receive support for developing your brand voice and tone.


Brand voice and tone examples


The best way to understand brand voice and tone is by investigating how successful companies use them. Take a look at a few stand-out brand voice and tone examples so you can see how businesses bring them into their messaging.


Starbucks

Starbucks is transparent with its creative expression, sharing its brand voice and tone online. They combine functional and expressive language to connect with their audience, inviting them to share an indulgent moment in their shop and offering helpful tips to bring out the coffee’s best flavours.


Slack

Slack makes a point to speak to customers with clear language and none of the tech jargon. Their published brand voice and tone document start, “We are humans speaking to humans,” highlighting the focus on customers and the benefits they receive from the software.


Wendy’s

Everyone loves Wendy’s on Twitter because they deliver something unexpected. And that is completely intentional, as they state in their Twitter bio: “We like our tweets the same way we like to make our hamburgers: better than anyone expects from a fast food joint.” Their brand voice and tone are snide and fun, making their personality stand out on social media.

Nail your brand expression with a spot-on voice and tone.


Branding your business


Developing your brand voice and tone may sound complicated, but our team has it down to a science. We distil your values, purpose, mission, and vision into a formula and inject it into all of your brand’s messaging. When you work with the experts, you build a brand personality customers can rely on and get to know intimately. They learn they can trust your brand to deliver messages consistently, with that specific voice and tone they have come to love.


If you are ready to get to the heart of branding your business so you can craft impactful messages, the Contese team is here to help. Reach out to learn how to bring your brand’s authentic personality to each word you share.