What is Tone of Voice and Why is it Important?

I’m probably showing my age here, but back when he was still playing football, David Beckham was a seriously good-looking piece of humanity. Chiselled abs, perfect hair, tattoos that made you think he was a bad boy you could probably tame. Perfection. Then he’d open his mouth…

(Insert the sound of illusions being shattered.)

Alas, while Beckham looked like a dream, his accent, tone and the basic approach to language he would employ in his post-match interviews left women of a certain age all over the globe wishing he could just be seen and not heard.

Which is not to say that on the right person an English ‘geezer’ accent isn’t adorable, it’s just that it’s all about matching the voice to the image. The same goes for your business.

If you are delivering a professional, high quality service or product, your writing needs to reflect that.

It’s not enough to look the part, you also need to sound the part.

As we have highlighted often on this website, a brand is more than a logo. It’s the message that your customers interpret from the way you look and act. We firmly believe that visuals alone do not communicate a brand; you also need to identify your brand’s tone of voice.

Your tone of voice captures the way you speak to customers, the words you use, the style of your sentences, and the general feeling that is communicated. It should reflect the speech and tone that appeals to the business’ ideal customer. For a word-nerd like me, it’s the ultimate communication challenge and one which I relish!

But words are just words, right? Surely my customers just need to know what I do and that’s enough?

Not if you want your brand to be successful and to attract your ideal customer. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t go around speaking in Shakespearean iambic pentameter at the footy ground on Sunday arvo. “Forsooth! That player of the opposing rank is verily off-side.” Um, no.

Language conveys feelings. It can be happy, sad, angry, comforting, etc, etc, etc. The way you use language says a lot about you, the situation you are in and the person you are talking to. By creating a branded tone of voice, you’re essentially creating a personality for your business. If you spend hours with a designer creating a logo that says, “We are a friendly business”, don’t undo all that work by using aggressive or blunt language in your customer communications.

So, before you implement a fancy new logo and brand styling, take a look at the words that accompany your imagery and make sure they are all speaking the same language.

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