How To Define Your Business Tone of Voice?

By: Rafa Ticzon

Branding Copywriting

27 May 2021

How to define your business tone of voice - Verz Design

With the many websites and businesses online, it gets harder and harder to stand out. Not to mention the pressure of having to immediately grab a customer’s attention and leave a good first impression. Needless to say, producing exciting and eye-catching content is more important now more than ever. And the first step is developing a notable and reliable Tone of Voice (TOV). 

What is a Tone of Voice?

“Tone of Voice” is “the way a person is speaking to someone.” Essentially, it’s how you come off to people you are communicating with.

But how about in the context of your business? The TOV is how your brand communicates with your audience and how your message is perceived. Simply put, it’s not about what you say, but rather how you say it. It is also the impression it makes on your target market. 

Let’s now see how your company can benefit from having a clearly defined Tone of Voice.

Why is Tone of Voice Necessary for Your Company?

In website copywriting, TOV is important for you to stand out from your competitors, all while communicating effectively with your audience. Not only will you be leaving an impression in their heads, but it helps build a connection and trust. This then can have a positive impact on your sales and revenue

It is also important to remember that your TOV represents your company’s personality and values. That said, it should be implemented in all the content you produce — from internal memos to marketing materials.

Understanding the Four Dimensions of Tone of Voice

We will now look into the Four Dimensions of Tone of Voice.

The four primary dimensions, founded by Nielsen Norman Group, can be used as a tool to analyze and develop what the best approach is for you:

  1. Formal VS Casual
  2. Funny VS Serious
  3. Respectful VS Irreverent
  4. Enthusiastic VS Matter-of-fact

Formal vs. Casual

Formal vs. casual tone of voice

Formal language makes you appear more professional and authoritative. However, it can at times be impersonal which could cause a disconnect from your audience.

On the other hand, casual language gives a feeling of a personality and friendliness that formal lacks. But can also make readers think you are inexperienced or unprofessional, especially when used in the wrong context.

Funny vs. Serious

Funny vs. serious tone of voice

When a post is funny, it could create a lasting memory in a customer’s mind. This garners more shares and helps you stand out from your competitors. However, this can also be risky if the joke is not executed properly. It could leave the impression of a lack of seriousness, and as a consequence, unprofessionalism.

Introducing a more serious approach will definitely help build credibility and foster trust. But it lacks personality and emotions, and can at times give a sense of tension.

If your company should choose the funny route, it is important to remember that humor shouldn’t get in the way of actually communicating with your audience. 

Respectful vs. Irreverent

Respectful vs. irreverent tone of voice

Being respectful leaves the impression of friendliness and being courteous. If overdone, however, can come off as trying to brown-nose your reader. 

The upsides to using an irreverent tone are confidence and authority. This proves that you are superior to your competitors. Unfortunately, it can also end up intimidating or offending your audience. 

Enthusiastic vs. Matter-of-Fact

Enthusiastic vs. matter of fact tone of voice

Lastly, enthusiasm can be equivalent to being friendly and helpful. But if not used at appropriate times, it can tire your reader out or even irritate them. 

Matter-of-fact language, while it may be taken as indifference and lack of personality, can also give a feeling of honesty and simplicity. 

With this information, we can better assess where you aim to be and how it can reflect your values the best way. So how do we find which tone is best for you?

3 Ways to Define Your Tone of Voice 

The process of defining a TOV for your brand is essential but also quite complex. It is not just stringing a few words together, but more of getting to know you and your audience. 

That said, here are three key points in finding your voice.

1. Identify Your Audience 

Identify your audience

Researching your audience properly is essential in producing content they like. With the help of Google Analytics and social networks analytics, you will be able to take note of important details. Examples are age, gender, interests, and social status, which you can compile to form a marketing persona.

Then, think about how you want to address this persona as if your business is human — as a friend, teacher, a coach? The generation of your audience and their respective preferred platforms (Instagram, Facebook etc.) are key factors in determining this.

Another useful tip is to find out what other brands they follow. Not to focus on what they do, but how you can differ from them.

Lastly, try to mimic their vocabulary. Your audience will more likely pay attention to you if you speak their language, literally. 

2. Set Clear Brand Guidelines

Set clear brand guidelines

Setting clear brand guidelines will help ensure your brand’s tone comes through in every material you create. This tool will help your team produce consistent content for any form of media. Aside from your target audience’s identity, company core values, and mission statement, your TOV guidelines should also include:

  • Message Architecture – the message you want to convey to your audience
  • Brand Voice Chart – three comprehensive statements describing your company’s brand
  • Vocabulary and Grammar – a specific style of writing (play on syntax and punctuation use) can input your message with a particular meaning
  • Symbolic language – a mixture of metaphors, symbolisms, and wordplay can add different dimensions to your TOV

3. Hire a Professional Copywriter

Hire a professional copywriter

Of course, learning all of these techniques can’t be done overnight. Luckily there is someone who is already skilled in the matter: a professional web copywriter. 

It is a given that hiring professional copywriters produce quality output, but they can also perfectly capture your services. They are trained to research and digest everything they can about various industries, your brand, and its niche audience. 

It is acceptable that not everyone is skilled with grammar, spelling, and punctuation. However, when it comes to making promotional material, everything should be written accordingly to effectively sell your brand and optimised for SEO.

Being persuasive but not overbearing is key to reeling in your audience, which copywriters take to heart. While ads are essential in garnering attention, organic traffic is still preferred for your content. You will find that when people choose to click on your posts, they are more likely to convert to legitimate customers and genuine supporters.

Verz Design Can Help Find the Perfect Tone of Voice For You!

Bottom line is identifying your brand’s Tone of Voice is a key part of developing a digital marketing and content strategy. Material not only true to your vision but to your customers as well. By understanding how your audience operates and topics they are interested in, you can develop a vision of what your brand has to say, and how you want to say it. 

For your audience to gain a better sense of who you are, remember to keep a uniform tone across all platforms.

Ready to jumpstart your brand? Call us at 6841 1680 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.

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