Brands at jeopardy: Neglecting your ToV
In the wise words of Maya Angelou, ‘people won’t always remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel’.
Mastering your tone of voice as a brand is crucial, it’s a major part of what makes you unique. A consistent tone of voice ensures you are easily recognisable and can work as a brand signature, whilst also ensuring your key messages resonate with your customers.
When it comes to branding, companies often rely too heavily on graphics, colour pallets, logo design and typefaces, but a distinct tone of voice is just as important.
Conversation is truly meaningful when it comes to creating genuine relationships with an audience. In a world where speaking ‘with and not at’ is essential, a carefully considered tone of voice is vital for the representation of a brand, and the best enabler of engagement, especially when it comes to online marketing such as email and social.
Let's take a look at a few brands who have a brilliantly engaging and authentic tone of voice, and use it to elevate their overall branding and grow loyal online audiences.
While the go to brand for great humour and entertaining content may be Innocent Smoothies (more on this later), a slightly lesser known brand doing something similar is Arena Flowers, a UK based online florist. Despite their tone of voice efforts not being widely recognised outside of Twitter as yet, Arena Flowers have managed to grow a large and engaged following by using humourous, brave and relatable copy.
Oh, Wendy’s, how I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall at your initial social media strategy meeting. A brave and defiant approach has built Wendy’s a huge social following. Their sign off process is one I am still yet to fully comprehend, but a strong wit, sarcastic and slightly brash nature has solidified a signature tone of voice for the popular US brand. Although not suitable for every brand, this approach can work well when executed strategically.
One of my personal favourites, Frank Body, take their well thought out tone of voice beyond social and onto further marketing channels. Communicating a strong yet personable tone, Frank Body use careful copy to communicate to a loyal and admiring fan base. A solid understanding of their target audience has led Frank Body to execute a naughty and flirtatious, yet playful, fun and lighthearted tone across all communications. An extremely likeable brand, Frank Body have proven how tone of voice can be used as a distinctive USP.
Next up, Nando's. Cheeky Nando's. Short and sweet, yet honest and relatable - sometimes that’s all that’s needed right? Nando's demonstrate how speaking as if talking to your friends (in moderation, of course) can work wonders when creating genuine and meaningful connections with an audience. It seems brands can often get a little lost in ‘professionalism’ and lose sight of what’s real, but Nando's are an exception.
Unafraid to drop the F* Bomb every now and again, Firebox are bold and unapologetic. Their ‘no beating around the bush’ approach to copy and tone has enabled them to create a truly charismatic brand with a defined personality.
Website: http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk/ (be sure to sign up to their newsletter if you want a taste of on point tone of voice)
And just because this is a post on tone of voice, we have to pay homage to Innocent and the attitude that allows them to truly ‘take the Michael’ out of themselves. Paired with spectacular creative thinking, on point reactive behaviour and childlike innovation, Innocent reign supreme when it comes to brand and tone of voice.
Despite brands such as Innocent leading the way with an engaging tone of voice, each brand is very different. What works for one, might not work for another. As with all marketing, understanding your audience and their needs is vital, and ensuring your tone of voice aligns with your purpose and ethos as well as your product or service is extremely important. Think about what your brand offers and ensure your tone of voice is as serious or as relaxed as it needs to be. People still need to believe in you as a brand, as professionals and as trustworthy. This is more important for some brands (e.g. financial services) than others, but it’s always a consideration.
The perfect time to nail tone of voice is at the beginning of a brand launch. However, it’s never too late. If you’re considering undergoing a rebrand anytime soon then don’t be afraid to reconsider your tone, just ensure any changes made are introduced slowly to avoid jarring with previous marketing activity.