By Shoshana Cenker
Does your company have a tone of voice?
Are you now wondering what a tone of voice is?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. As a company that specializes in communications, we here at Thinkwell Creative know a thing or two about tone of voice. It’s one of our superpowers, actually.
So today, we’ll touch on some tone of voice basics, show you some great examples, and then share ideas about how you can discover your own company’s tone of voice — ToV for short.
Let’s dive in…
What the heck is a tone of voice?
So, your ToV communicates who you are as a company and how you relate to your customers, business partner and even your own team.
Your ToV is more about how you say things and less about what you say. A consistent and clearly defined tone of voice helps establish your brand. It tells your audience who you are.
ToV represents and expresses your brand’s personality, way of thinking and set of values. It shapes the messaging you send out to clients, vendors, potential customers and people in your own organization.
Relaying your brand consistently through your voice makes your communication more effective. Super important, right?!
Why does my company need a ToV?
This one is pretty big….
So, we’ve just established that your tone of voice conveys who you are as a company and how you relate to your audience.
When you communicate effectively, your company can promote confidence and trust in the services you provide. (See, told you this is BIG!) Your brand’s voice will help form connections, build rapport and develop loyalty.
Keep this in mind: Your tone of voice should aim to connect with — not just inform — your audience.
And here’s something you may not have thought about: Your ToV can help you stand out from competitors. A brand’s tone of voice should be distinctive, recognizable and unique. It sets you apart.
Think about it, if all companies that do what you do sounded the same, your messaging falls flat and you may lose the business to the next guy. Use your brand and ToV to show how you are different. Ensure your company is an individual. You want to stand out!
How’s about a nice succinct recap of why you need ToV…
Let me break it down — your tone of voice:
- Shows your personality and values.
- Differentiates you from competitors.
- Helps you gain and retain customers.
Makes sense, right?
Pro Tip: When used properly, your ToV makes your communication more effective. Saying things in a simple, direct and concise way allows your audience to take it in and understand it, regardless of how technically challenging the info you’re sharing may be. (Think medical jargon or technology-related details.)
Don’t be a robot
You’ve probably noticed that most companies and organizations are transitioning—if they haven’t already—to a less formal way of communication. Gone is the corporate-y, stuffy language. Barreling in is a more human, relatable feel in messaging. (Yay!)
But this doesn’t mean your communications can’t express confidence and excellence in what you do. You can—and should—have both.
You’re not a cold robot, (unless your company literally creates AI robots, how cool!). You’re an approachable, talented expert in your field.
Try this: Think about writing in a way that you’d communicate with an old friend or trusted colleague.
How do I know my company’s values?
Well, you now know that you need a voice that’s true to your company’s culture and values.
So, here’s how to land on those important values…
Gather your team and brainstorm these questions:
- What are our values?
- What behaviors does the company value over making a quick buck?
- When is it appropriate to put the needs of the team above those of the customer?
- How do we interact with our clients and our team members?
- What sets us apart from similar companies?
- How do we want to be portrayed? What reputation do we want?
- Who is our audience?
- What do we want to offer our audience?
- How does our audience communicate with us and what language and tone do they use?
- What DON’T we want to be described as?
Then, ask everyone to provide a voice adjective that describes your company. For example:
To really drive this info home, here are some stellar examples of well-known company’s ToV, voice adjectives and brand messaging.
Red Bull: adventure, try, adrenaline
Calm app: inspirational, motivational, mindful
A tech company: innovative, forward-thinking, inspiring
Voice adjectives and messaging that guide communications (these are from real companies!):
- Straightforward: Our messaging is clear, bold, simple and modern. While our business is technical, we don’t let that get in the way of straightforward and concise communication about our products and services—and their benefits. Clarity and simplicity with a conversational tone are key.
- Progressive: We are passionate about innovation and pushing the envelope. We highlight how our inventive achievements benefit our customers with inspirational and pioneering undertones. Fresh, optimistic language showcases that we are leaders without overstating or overselling.
- Confident: We’re experts who are also approachable, energetic and collaborative. Our writing style and messaging reflects our accessibility and promotes a true partnership with customers and businesses.
- Open: Our writing style reflects our accessibility and implies a form of “partnership” between our company and customers in which openness and collaboration is the norm. While technical detail is essential, it does not get in the way of clear, simple communication about our products and services — and their benefits to clinicians and patients. A more conversational style is appropriate, without becoming colloquial.
Pro Tip: Subtle shifts in your tone of voice can enhance audience engagement. Here’s few quick examples of how to replace formal words and sentences with conversational messaging:
No: We initiated installation of…
Yes: Today, we began installing…
No: The information in the Patient Center is meant to answer questions that are most frequently asked…
Yes: We have set up our Patient Center to answer all the questions you may have about…
That’s a wrap
Okay, we’re just about done for now. Before we go, we’re going to leave you with some helpful reminders and final pro tips.
- Your messaging will likely change some, depending on the medium you’re using: social media vs. email vs. brochures vs. website vs. press release, etc. (And, we have an entire post about choosing the right medium for your communications, so make sure you check it out.)
- Be consistent!
- Listen to your clients, customers, vendors. Use words that they use—this approach demonstrates empathy and understanding.
- Once you’ve nailed down your tone of voice, we strongly suggest that you create a Tone of Voice Style Guide for every member of your company to use as a reference. It only helps when it’s put to good use!
When your entire team focuses on consistently using your tone of voice, you will strengthen your brand, create loyal clients and grow your business. So get to it!
Need help creating your Tone of Voice Style Guide? Thinkwell Creative is ready to help! Email us to get started today.