Watch your tone!
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. How you sound has a big impact on how people see you. The tone you use, the words you choose and the way you put those words together, reflects who you are.
This is true of all relationships in life – ask your mother, partner, kid, best friend or colleague – and it’s definitely true for your brand. The tone of your voice shows your personality and what’s important to you, both written and spoken. It fits in with the strategy you set and the name you created.
If the copy you write is dull, serious and business-like, this is how your customers will see you. If the language you use is quirky, funny and personal, this is how your customers expect you to be.
If the tone of your website is corporate and formal, but your language in meetings is personal and light, people get confused. If the CEO speaks like the queen and the sales director like your best friend, people get confused. Consistency is king.
And consistency starts with writing it down. Depending on the size and type of your company, tone-of-voice guidelines can range between a couple of pages of key principles, to official guidelines with great detail and examples. What they should all have in common is consistency and simplicity with no exceptions to the rules.
But a set of guidelines alone won’t do it. The tone-of-voice needs to be understood and lived by everybody, let us repeat, everybody. It’s not just something for the brand or communication department to use in an advertising campaign or a blog story, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e in the company needs to speak the same language.
No exceptions. Copywriters, receptionists, CEO’s, marketing managers, sales reps, HR-managers, project managers, strategists, advertising agencies, designers. They need to use the same language. Do we need to go on? MD’s, engineers, telemarketers, analysts, PR, comms, IT. Everyone. It’s important to get everyone excited, aligned and up to date to communicate in one voice.
Because it’s an opportunity to connect with your audience like no other brand asset. Your language is emotional and tangible at the same time. When done right, you’ll builds trust and audiences will recognize you. It can set you apart and can even be used to influence and persuade. So, watch it.
“People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, the late American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist.