Finding Your Brands Personality & Tone of Voice
As a purpose-led business, your brand’s tone of voice is critical to your success.
Tone of voice refers to the personality, values, and attitudes that come through in your brand’s communication. It’s distinct from other branding elements like your logo or visual identity, but it’s just as important. Your tone of voice is how you connect with your suppliers, employees and customers on an emotional level and establish trust with them.
By effectively communicating your values and mission, you can build trust with socially conscious customers and differentiate yourself from competitors. Your tone of voice is how you show your audience that you’re more than just a business – you’re a force for good.
In this article, we’ll explore how to establish your brand’s tone of voice so that you can effectively communicate your mission and speak to your audience in the right way for your business.
Identifying Your Brand’s Personality
The first step in establishing your brand’s tone of voice is to identify your brand’s personality. By defining your brand’s personality traits, you can create a consistent tone that resonates with your audience.
To do this, you can ask yourself questions like:
- What are our brand’s core values?
- What is our brand’s mission and vision?
- How do we want our customers to perceive us?
- What adjectives best describe our brand?
You should also analyse your customer feedback and create customer personas. Ask yourself what values and attitudes are most important to your target audience, and how your brand can align with those values.
Once you have a clear understanding of your brand’s personality, you can start to develop your tone of voice.
To help you along, here are some common brand personality types but remember, these are just examples. A brand can have a combination of different personality traits so the key is to choose a brand personality that aligns with your target audience, values, and industry.
Genuine, honest, and down-to-earth. Values authenticity, trust, and building meaningful connections and relationships.
Dynamic, energetic, and full of enthusiasm. Aims to create a sense of thrill and anticipation, offering customers an exhilarating experience.
Exudes elegance, refinement, and high quality. Appeals to customers who appreciate luxury, style and a sense of exclusivity.
Trustworthy, consistent, and dependable. Focuses on delivering products or services that customers can count on, ensuring peace of mind and reliability.
Forward-thinking, cutting-edge, and always pushing boundaries. Strives to be at the forefront of industry trends and technology, offering customers new and exciting solutions.
Approachable, warm, and welcoming. Aims to create a sense of familiarity and build relationships with customers through a friendly and relatable tone.
Daring, bold, and appealing to customers who seek excitement and thrill. Encourages customers to step out of their comfort zones and embrace new experiences.
Caring, compassionate, and focused on the well-being of its customers. Seeks to create a supportive and nurturing environment, offering products or services that cater to customers’ needs.
Lighthearted, fun, and injects humour into its communications. Aims to create a sense of joy and entertainment.
Serious, authoritative, and values expertise. Positions itself as a reliable and knowledgeable authority in its industry.
Unconventional, rebellious, and challenges the status quo. Appeals to customers who seek uniqueness and non-conformity, often disrupting traditional norms.
Motivational, empowering, and encourages customers to reach their full potential. Strives to make a positive impact, inspiring customers to take action and make a difference.
Establishing Your Tone of Voice
Once you know your brand’s personality it’s time to translate that into your tone of voice.
The following examples demonstrate how purpose-led brands can effectively communicate their values and missions through various tones of voice, engaging their audiences and building strong connections.
Remember, the tone of voice should align with your brand’s personality, values, and target audience to create an authentic and impactful communication strategy.
An authentic tone of voice is honest, transparent, and genuine. You communicate by emphasizing your brand values, being transparent about your practices, and sharing stories that showcase your authenticity.
An example of this is Warby Parker. They communicate openly about their production processes, materials used, and their efforts to provide eyewear to communities in need. By being transparent and genuine, they build trust and connect with their audience on a deeper level.
An empathetic tone of voice is compassionate and understanding. You communicate by prioritizing customer needs, showing understanding, and expressing care and support.
An example of this is The Body Shop. They adopt an empathetic tone of voice, emphasizing their commitment to cruelty-free and sustainable products and caring for customers’ well-being.
An educational tone of voice is informative and helpful. You communicate by providing valuable information, offering tips and guidance, and aiming to educate your audience on important topics.
An example of this is Seventh Generation. They provide educational resources and tips on sustainable living, aiming to educate customers on the importance of environmentally responsible products.
A bold tone of voice is confident and assertive. You communicate by challenging the status quo, using strong and assertive language, and emphasizing the importance of your message.
An example of this is Impossible Foods. They disrupt the meat industry with their plant-based alternatives and use a bold tone of voice to emphasize the importance of sustainability and ethical eating.
A humorous tone of voice is playful and light-hearted. You communicate by using humour, wit, and playful language to create an emotional connection and foster a sense of community.
An example of this is Oatly. They infuse their communication with witty and tongue-in-cheek humour to promote their sustainable and environmentally friendly oat-based beverages, creating a unique and engaging brand experience in their sector.
An inspiring tone of voice is motivational and uplifting. You communicate by sharing stories of positive change, using uplifting language, and motivating your audience to take action.
An example of this is TOMS. This purpose-led footwear company uses an inspiring tone of voice to encourage customers to get involved in social and environmental causes and improve lives through business.
A thoughtful tone of voice is introspective and reflective. You communicate by encouraging deeper thinking, asking meaningful questions, and fostering reflection on important issues.
An example of this is Allbirds. They communicate their commitment to sustainability and ethical practices in a thoughtful and introspective manner, encouraging customers to think about the impact of their choices.
An adventurous tone of voice is daring and exciting. You communicate by expressing a sense of adventure, highlighting thrilling experiences, and inspiring your audience to step out of their comfort zones.
An example of this is Patagonia. This purpose-led brand, known for its outdoor clothing, embraces an adventurous tone of voice by encouraging customers to explore the world and connect with nature.
A passionate tone of voice is enthusiastic and deeply committed. You communicate by expressing your brand’s passion, sharing personal stories, and conveying a strong sense of dedication.
An example of this is Pat McGrath Labs. This purpose-led cosmetics brand showcases a passionate tone of voice, expressing their love for creativity, self-expression, and inclusivity in beauty.
A collaborative tone of voice fosters a sense of partnership and teamwork. You communicate by using inclusive language, seeking input and feedback, and emphasizing the importance of collective efforts.
An example of this is Fairtrade International. They employ a collaborative tone of voice to engage with farmers, businesses, and the general public, emphasizing the importance of fair trade practices and creating partnerships for positive change.
A visionary tone of voice inspires a future-focused mindset. You communicate by sharing a compelling vision, highlighting innovation, and inspiring your audience with forward-thinking ideas.
An example of this is Tesla. Focused on sustainable energy and transportation, they adopt a visionary tone of voice by showcasing groundbreaking technology, advocating for a greener future, and challenging conventional automotive norms.
An optimistic tone of voice focuses on positivity and possibilities. You communicate by highlighting hopeful outcomes, celebrating progress, and inspiring optimism in your audience.
An example of this is Life Is Good. They embrace an optimistic tone of voice, spreading positivity, gratitude, and the message of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
Keeping Your Voice Consistent
Now that you have your brand personality and tone of voice pinned down it’s time to pull it all together in your brand voice guidelines.
It should include guidelines for language, tone, and messaging examples that ensure consistency across all communication channels. For purpose-led businesses, it’s especially important to include language around sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical practices.
To ensure consistency across all of your communication channels make sure you train your employees on your brand voice guidelines. You should also supply brand voice checklists that they can use to review all communications before they’re sent out.
Testing and Refining Your Voice
Once you’ve established your brand voice, it’s important to test it in real-world situations. Monitor social media interactions, customer service calls, and other customer touchpoints to see how your brand voice is being received. Gather feedback from socially conscious customers and employees to refine your brand voice over time.
After all, your business doesn’t stand still and neither should your brand.
Written by Lee Skellett
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