tone of voice


Content marketing and brand’s tone of voice

Creating an original tone of voice is often perceived as one of the most important steps in brand development. The tone of communication is what makes you stand out in the crowd and may attract consumers’ attention, who are bombarded with ads and content every day. 

What exactly is the tone of voice?

The tone of voice represents the values and personality of the brand. It is a method of communication that is expressed through words, both written and spoken. However, it’s only about what you say or write on your channels. It is critical to consider how you do it and the impression recipients get when they read or hear your posts. The information has to be cohesive, and the tone should be reflected in the words, their order, rhythm, and tempo.

Why do companies need their tone of voice?

According to research conducted by Semrush:

  • 65% of consumers say they have a connection to the brand that builds relationships with them;
  • 64% of clients that have a relationship with selected brands declare that they can trust them because of the brand’s values;
  • a company’s income that conducts cohesive communication increases by 23%;
  • by conducting communication activities, you can convey a message that will be remembered by the recipients.

The tone of voice and content marketing strategy

The method of communication should be established during the strategy planning process. A tone of voice should be applied not only in the published content but also in other formulated values, the company’s mission, or in contact with the external recipient.

The most important thing, however, is to remember about it and use it in every text you create, not only written but graphic, video, or any other form coming out of your company.

How to adjust the tone of voice to your brand?

We don’t always remember what was said at a given time, but we do remember situations and the impact they had on us. Oftentimes, the way that someone speaks can make you feel that way – that’s why the tone of voice can be used to influence the decision of your potential customers.

The tone of voice should be characteristic, recognizable, and unique. Creating it and planning communication with it may seem difficult, but you should look at it from a different perspective. Think about how people usually form their questions. Do they have favorite sayings, a specific tempo, or a way of talking? Below, you can find a few tips that can help you create a tone of voice for your brand.

Think about the values and culture of your company

How was the company that helps you develop your tone of voice founded? What’s the purpose of its operations? How does it feel to work there? What differentiates it from others? To whom do they direct their services or products? A thorough analysis and familiarity with the brand allow for determining how the communication should sound and what the brand’s personality is.

Determine the personality of your brand

Determine what traits of human personality your brand could possess. Marketing necessitates establishing relationships with a target audience (if you don’t know who your target audience is yet, you can look up how to do it and incorporate it into your strategy), and a carefully planned brand personality plays a significant role in this. Content marketing is part of the brand, which means that it should align with its character. Discover what and how your recipients read. Check if they like it, and try to adjust your communication with them.
If your services or products are directed toward young people that spend most of their time online, you can prepare short, humorous content that could reach them. If your potential clients are recipients from another company, try to write simply, but keep it businesslike by maintaining a formal tone. 

What does the client get?

What makes your company different from all the others offering similar services? Does it offer any unique methods? The published content should, above all, demonstrate your brand’s attributes and strengthen its voice. You cannot forget the real goals: increasing sales, brand promotion, and building an expert image.

Pay attention to details

Perfecting all the details can help you create an effective communication strategy and will allow you to be different from the rest of the competition. Think about how you wish to address your recipients. Do you want to be closer to a recipient and call him or her by their name? Or maybe you want to keep it formal and address people as sir, madam, gentleman, etc.? Or will you rather create general texts? Either way, remember that when publishing even the shortest of articles, posts on social media, or an infographic, don’t forget about the tone!

The tone of voice and content distribution channels

Remember, the language of different communicators can differ depending on the place. If you add a post to your social media, it can be more relaxed and direct. When you add a blog article, however, make sure it’s professional and serious. Remember the values of the company and make sure that you incorporate them in every text you post online.

4 dimensions of the tone of voice

To better understand the tone of voice, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with research conducted by Kate Moran from the Nielsen Norman Group. The tone of voice has been grouped according to four dimensions: humor, formality, respect, and enthusiasm. A way of communicating can be located on the edge of each of them or somewhere in between, and it has to be diverse enough for each target audience to achieve the desired effects.

Humor (funny vs serious)

The brand’s message can be humorous or serious. Pay attention to the fact that only being comical is evaluated, not whether the joke was funny or not. 
Using a “funny” tone of voice helps people remember the brand. We can see it in commercials like those for the Super Bowl. A good example is the M&M’s spot from the event. The famous candy was used as a gift to say sorry in quite unusual and surreal situations, for example, for listening to a confession or intentionally kicking the seat in front of the plane. 

On the other hand, a serious tone of voice presented by the EFL brand can help develop the expert position, make potential consumers trust the brand, and deliver knowledge, thanks to which we can build long-lasting relationships. The brand’s periodic reports can be a good example.

Formality (formal vs informal)

Formal language signifies professionalism, while informal one better depicts the brand’s personality. Using a formal tone of voice can help you formulate competent statements. Oftentimes, this way of communicating is used by business and finance brands. A perfect example could be the campaign we conducted for, “Women in Business.” You can read about it in the case study.

Respect (respectful vs ignorant)

While forming a message, you need to decide how you approach the situation. Will you do it with respect, or will you place your bet on a nonchalant approach? Obviously, we mean an ignorant approach. Usually, messages are not purposefully mean to the reader. A good example is Burger King’s approach to its competitor, McDonald’s, and dressing in a costume that resembles the competitor. 


Enthusiasm (enthusiastic vs factual) 

A text can describe a product or service in an enthusiastic, pleasant way, but it can also be written in a factual manner, without an emotional attachment.
The VOX brand proposes an interesting approach. Instead of providing raw data, their texts feature functionalities of the product written in a pleasant way. They also hint at how we could use the furniture at home. The descriptions include a set of technical information, exemplary usage, and a set of suggestions.

It’s time to create the tone of voice of your brand!

As mentioned above, developing a tone of voice requires considering a lot of factors. It’s worth remembering that the method of communicating should develop along with the brand. You don’t have to stick to harsh solutions prepared 10 years ago. Play with the language, verify what your recipients like on different channels, and get inspired. 
If you need help preparing a content marketing strategy, contact our agency. We will help you find the true tone of voice for your brand.

  • 21 February 2023

See all articles by Natalia Olszewska

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