Brand Tone of Voice. 5 Reasons Why You Need One. Now.

Brand tone of voice can be a bit of a gray area for many companies; often overlooked or only considered as an afterthought once a brand has been launched. If there has ever been a more crucial time to take a step back and rethink or create your brand tone of voice, it’s now. After all, you can write the music, but with no voice there’s no one to sing your hit song. Here are 5 reasons why the time is right:

  1. Bye-bye cold corporation, hello human story. 

Succeeding in business today is largely about being able to tell a believable story that your audience can connect with; something that resonates. Gone are the days of big talk from faceless corporations, people want a story they can believe in without the need for a hard sell. This is particularly the case if you are trying to capture the hearts of the much sought after millennial market or, more importantly, the rising Generation Z. Today’s younger market have grown up in a digital world with media at their fingertips, immersing them or dancing at the periphery of their line of sight every moment of every day. They don’t want marketing forced upon them; they want to do their research and feel like they are owning the decision based on their own assumptions and reasoning prowess. Story-telling that is authentic and engaging will help to elevate your brand in what is, a continually evolving and competitive social-media world. 

But simply telling a story is not enough on its own. If you’ve nailed a spot-on brand-tone-of-voice, you’ve got a much stronger chance of making that valuable connection with your audience. In fact, the place to start when developing your tone of voice is your very own brand story. Revisiting your core brand values will help you figure out what to talk to your target market about before you decide how to do it. 

Take Hello Flo, the new feminine products brand that is turning the industry on its head in the way that it talks about the out-dated taboo subject of periods. Across its video and digital content, its hilarious, honest, friendly yet empowering, tone of voice speaks from the heart to tell a straight-talking story that will grab the attention of every generation. Its impact is clear. Even old-timer Bodyform recently revisited their tone and messaging, brazenly following in Hello Flo’s footsteps to reinforce the human conversation around periods with their powerful campaign.

2. Attention please! 

The speed at which we consume media these days is rising at an insane rate. The growing barrage of media in all its disparate forms is leaving us increasingly impervious to advertising. In the generation of 140 characters or less, there has never been a more critical time to develop a message that has sticking power at a glance; that very first glance. If you have a consistent tone of voice that flows from that very first customer interaction through to more in-depth content, you have a better chance of resonating with your audience, drawing them in and generating the results you’ve been longing for. 

Dollar Shave Club make this look like a walk in the park. From a simple yet ingenious brand tagline (Shave Time, Shave Money) through to share-worthy content, their funny, irreverent, smart and honest tone of voice set this relative newcomer apart from its long-established competitors. So much so that industry giant Unilever stood up and paid attention —  $1 billion worth of attention.

3. Why choose me?

A simple question, but often difficult to answer. What makes me different? Why would anyone choose me over my competitor? Your brand tone of voice can do a lot of work in distinguishing you from your competition. You may have found your niche, figured out where to talk to them, even decided who should do the talking. But if you haven’t figured out how to talk about your brand, you may be playing a losing game. Not only that, but in this social based marketing world, you need to figure out how your brand speaks across a variety of different digital and emerging social platforms, without losing sight of its core values.

The laundry detergent brand Ariel recently rewrote the story its industry normally sells. The Ariel Matic campaign #sharetheload launched in India with a powerful video that triggers all the emotions and really invites the audience to question the traditional role of women in the home. It’s a shift in tone for this historically conventional brand towards a simple, approachable, more engaging voice. The result is compelling enough to make the decision between brands easy breezy for the consumer, while shaking up the industry and maybe even society a little.

4. Content is King.

These days content marketing needs to play a central role in a brand’s marketing strategy. Once you’ve got them hooked, it’s the content that’s going to keep them coming back and build the foundation for a loyal customer base. There are innumerable ways to incorporate content into your marketing plans, from blog content, videos and infographics to social media promotions, webinars and e-zines. But regardless of what industry you’re in and what type of content you use, having a consistent tone of voice plays a huge role in achieving what you set out to do. A voice that appeals to your audience and comes from the heart of your brand will create the intrinsic link between each content piece, giving you the opportunity not only to make one sale, but make friends with your audience and keep them coming back for more. 

Kleenex is doing a great job with their ‘messages of care’ campaign, which includes the tear jerker ‘A caring chorus’ video. Throughout the video and the continued messaging across social channels and their website, Kleenex’s human, warm and honest tone is a gentle yet constant force.

5. Will you still remember me? 

Once you’ve nailed your tone of voice, you’ll need to make sure you’ve made a convincing enough case to be memorable and stand the test of time - time does tell and will tell. You have to stay ahead of the game in order to keep up with the speed at which media moves and evolves, so its important to revisit your tone and its application regularly. What worked five years ago may not work today or may need to be tweaked to survive the wave of new social platforms that continue to emerge. Staying ahead of the curve with your brand voice needs to be a fundamental part of your overall content strategy. 

Old Spice has been the master of brand reinvention in recent years. Once a tired, out-dated fragrance as synonymous with aging grandpas as the smell of stale pipe smoke. But not any more! Thanks to a clever relaunch back in 2010, Old Spice has worked its way back onto the radar of all that is young and hip. Said campaign reintroduced the brand with a refreshing, quirky, cool and cheesy tone of voice that continues to stay relevant 6 years on. Consistent brand innovation has helped Old Spice keep up with the dynamic social media landscape. Keeping on trend with all things retro, they recently launched their interactive video game called YouLand, styled on the pixelated games from the 80’s. Drawing the customer right into the brand with plenty of tongue-in-cheek puns, it’s a far cry from the stagnant Old Spice whiff we once only associated with Grandpa Joe’s tweed coat.

With the right attention you can give your brand the perfect voice to sing your number 1 song, while you drop the mic on your competition. 

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