A company’s tone of voice is your way of differentiating yourself from competitors and creating an identity between your company and your target audience. With the tone of voice, you can also associate the images you want with your company. On your website, the tone of voice basically means how your content is written, i.e. what kind of word choices and what writing style you use.
Let’s look at an example. Does Jari Sarasvuo start his writing with “Hello reader…” or “Dear friend…”? If Jari would not address the reader or listener so skilfully with his choice of words and tone of voice, he would not have such a big fanbase.
At best, your company can do the same when you use your tone of voice with determination. In this blog, I will tell you how you can get up to speed on this.
Does the company need its own tone of voice?
Do I need to season the food? Even if you do not season the food, it still has some flavor. But usually, the taste is tasteless.
In any case, your company has a tone of voice, even if it has not been specifically defined (just like how food has a taste, even if it is not seasoned). In general, the tone of voice is equally tasteless.
Therefore, in practice, you can choose between two options. Do you define your company’s tone of voice to enjoy the benefits it brings, or do you not define the tone of voice, resulting in poor results.
To answer the question: yes, the company needs its own tone of voice.
However, the tone of voice does not mean a revolutionary change in all cases. It is more about your own and the target group’s clear identification and the positioning of the company in their values and mindsets with word choices and tones. What images do you want to associate with your company, why and with what kind of tone of voice is it possible?
All the consultancy nonsense about the color of your brand, the muffling of the brand’s taste and the fact that if your company was tin and lit it up, then what pattern it would make is really pointless. It is about much more concrete things that I will delve in more at the end of the blog.
Why is tone of voice important?
1) The tone of voice creates trust before doing business
The tone of voice is important because you basically like people who want the best for you, with whom you feel you can get things done, or who are like you. When you like someone, you want to spend time with them and listen to them.
The same applies to the interaction between your company and your client. By using your company’s textual content to show your potential customer that you understand them and that you are just like them, the end result becomes excellent. In this case, the potential customer will enjoy your content longer, so you can teach them and provide them with insights. This is how the trust begins to develop between you, which is necessary before you do business.
Teaching a customer ahead of your competitors is also important because your enticing and carefully constructed content sets the bar really high in the customer’s eyes as they map out the competing options. Few competitors will reach your level if your content is built correctly, including the tone of voice.
2) The tone of voice separates your company from your competitors
The tone of voice allows you to create customer images of your company and stand out from your competitors. The feeling the customer gets and the things that the customer feels when choosing you as their partner are extremely important things to consider. With the tone of voice, we can hit the right spot.
Here is an example with two very different tone of voices.
“Our customer service will answer all your questions about our marketing app 24/7.”
“Did you receive the question about our software on Christmas Eve? No problem. Shoot us a message and you will get an answer to your question in five minutes.”
One of these works better for some and the other for others. What is essential is that you go with what works better for most of your target group and to keep in mind what kind of vibe it creates for them.
However, not every text can please everyone. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the 4th best-selling book worldwide with 120 million copies. Still, there are hundreds of one-star reviews about it on Amazon. So do not expect to please anyone.
3) The tone of voice keeps the acquired customers with your company
The stronger your tone of voice becomes, the more it engages your existing customers. I am going to bring up Jari Sarasvuo as an example again. Practically none of his active readers or podcast listeners would be willing to trade Jari for another person on the same topics. If they would, they would lose the feeling and status that Jari gives them.
The same applies to your company. When you address your customers and target group in a consistent and recognizable way, they do not want to switch to a competitor if your service works well otherwise. When switching, they would lose the status and feeling they have gained in working with you.
5 steps to get you going in setting the right tone
1) Clearly define your audience
Clearly define the target group, that is, boldly exclude those who are not your customers. In his new book This is Marketing, Seth Godin talks a lot about the fact that the most important thing is not to be the best option, but to be the best option for one of your audiences.
Michael Porter has similar thoughts, according to Michael Porter, saying that the most dangerous thing about doing business is to join the competition “to be the best”. No one can be the best for everyone, but you can be the best for one audience.
2) Create the necessary buyer personalities
Do not make a buyer personality based on demographic data, e.g. a woman, 35 years old, communications manager, lives in an SME area, but think more of the buyer personality through a “jobs to be done” perspective. I recommend reading our blog about buyer personalities, as it opens up how you can create a truly useful tool from buyer personalities.
Buyer personalities give you better access to their world of thought, making it much easier to set the tone of voice.
3) Define your company’s tone of voice
There is no specific formula for this, and change will not happen overnight. The tone of voice should be reflected in all the interactions you do with your customers. Therefore, the tone of voice should be described not only by adjectives but also by examples.
This could be an example from the beginning of a tone of voice file:
“Our style is informative and neutral. We do not look down on anyone. We base our entire text on fact and are also able to justify our arguments with facts. We have nothing superlative, etc.”
4) Word choices
Which words do you use from your industry and which do you not? And which words end up on the blacklist from outside your industry and which ones get the green light?
In many cases, the details create a whole. That is precisely why individual choice of words is of great importance to the whole.
5) Justify others and get started
The tone of voice is not only arbitrarily defined, but it is always created on the basis that it speaks to your audience as thrillingly as possible. The three adjectives on the patch alone will never go into practice, at least not on a larger scale. That is why it is important to justify why your company tone of voice is just that. We will be happy to help you with this.
The tone of voice defined by your audience:
- you can associate the images you want with your company
- your potential clients are more likely to choose you
- your customers are more likely to stay with your services
This all happens because the customer gets a certain status and a certain role only when working with you. BMW takes you from place A to B like a Rolls Royce, but many pay €200.000 more for a Rolls Royce because the car in question offers them a feeling that the latest BMW does not offer. That is what the tone of voice is all about.