If you’re considering a tone of voice scheme for your brand, this should help. This post outlines how tone of voice works and suggest ways it could be done better.
At CB Digital, we create tone of voice schemes for brand consultancies and direct for brands. We see tone of voice guidelines each time we receive a copywriting project and there’s variation in quality and ambition in each one. Most brand’s summarise their business model, then present a few writing techniques with examples. We believe tone of voice could achieve so much more.
Tone of voice, brand language, verbal identity… it gets called many things! The marketing communications industry hasn’t agreed its name, let alone a definition! This is our personal favourite to summarise…
Tone of voice, (noun). A scheme that sets out how to write for a brand so that the style and content evoke the brand’s personality wherever words are used.
CAN YOU DIFFERENTIATE USING TONE OF VOICE?
You’re probably wondering, if tone of voice can’t easily take ownership of words, what can it do to differentiate? It can convey personality, expressing an attitude that reflects the brand’s character. If your brand’s personality is highly distinctive, you can have a highly distinctive tone of voice which will be immediately recognisable.
Most tone of schemes don’t achieve this. The brand personality the tone has to convey simply isn’t distinctive enough. This is often because mainstream brands have to appeal to a wide audience, they can’t afford to have a distinctive personality. It would alienate too many. Smaller businesses can really utilise language to articulate their brand’s verbal identity.
DO I NEED THESE GUIDELINES?
Perhaps you’re frustrated by the difficulty of taking ownership of aspects of language? We hear it a lot, but we see it even more. Could you benefit from some advice on how to write? If so, we will show you how to convey certain messages, as well as advanced writing techniques for your sales communications. You should feel confident when you press send on your email marketing campaigns and see the results you hoped for.
HOW TO ACHIEVE CLARITY & CONSISTENCY…
Tone of voice and copywriting for some brand’s can be daunting. In reality, it’s often as simple as providing you advice for clear communication in a warm, approachable tone. Learning to master this is worth your weight in gold as a brand. Clear communication, free of errors, in a consistent style that makes the most of different media’s strengths – all that is immensely valuable.
The clarity of thinking that comes from clarity of writing has massive spin-off benefits. People contribute more because they think more clearly and are more easily understood. There’s greater efficiency as people don’t have to struggle to understand what others are saying. Customers grasp sales messages more immediately, increasing sales. Brand messaging is more convincing allowing the brand to defend itself from competitors and support premium pricing.
By using linguistic techniques, you can create a truly distinctive way of writing that is recognisably your brand’s. That’s IF your brand has a distinctive brand personality.
HOW DO YOU CREATE A TONE OF VOICE SCHEME?
You may have a tone of voice guidelines that you once put together or outsourced, but it’s now out of date and not working so well. Maybe you have nothing and you’re starting from scratch? You’re on this page as you’re considering asking us a question about a new project. You’ll be wondering what’s involved and what you can expect…
Firstly, here’s what we’ll need:
- Examples of your current writing across all media, audiences and messaging
- An indication of what you think isn’t working
- Your brand guidelines and an explanation of all the elements of your brand model including the purpose, positioning, promise, values and personality
If you haven’t got brand guidelines, we will suggest preparing these first. We offer workshops where writing is explored and trends in tone and messaging are identified. This will reveal the writing needs of your organisation but won’t lead to a brand model. And without a brand model, with a distinctive brand personality, there is nothing for the tone of voice scheme to aim to express through language.
WHAT WE PROVIDE IN A TONE OF VOICE PROPOSAL…
Simplicity – tone of voice guidelines have to be easy for anyone to follow and implement, as lots of employees will write for the brand.
Range and flex – advice on how to write for the different types of media you use – everything from social to traditional ads in print. And you have to judge how to flex the tone so it is appropriate for different communication channels, audiences and messages.
Launch and training – companies need their people to write well so tone of voice guidelines are often widely distributed. We will support you on the launch and training to element your new guidelines within your team.
Culture change and values promotion – tone of voice guides are a great way of communicating the brand internally and changing attitudes and behaviour.
OUR PROMISE WHEN WE CREATE YOUR BRAND TONE OF VOICE GUIDELINES:
- Any writer within your business will be able follow this advice so you don’t have to keep coming back to us for interpretation.
- We will clearly demonstrate the new tone of voice to be used.
- It will be motivating enough that your team will want to use it
- The document will be long enough to explain and show what’s involved, but not so long, that no one would have time to read it.
- We’ll make sure it’s not too restrictive so that current creative activity, and future creative development is not too constrained.
- CB Digital guarantee to prove how your new guidelines go beyond your regular writing techniques to express the brand’s personality.
- We provide an on-going support system with all of our services where our team will always be happy to help answer any questions.
CB DIGITAL DESIGN NOTTINGHAM MARKETING AGENCY
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