Brand Voice: Why Tone Is Often Overlooked and Critical in Brand Voice
Words, tone, and cadence are all components of a great brand voice. This article is going to focus on the role tone plays in a brand voice. Tone is essential to creating a consistent and strong brand voice.
What Is Tone and Why It’s Important
The tone is the mood of the writing. It’s how the reader feels when (and often after) reading the blog, newsletter, etc.
There are hundreds of words to describe different tones. Here are just a few:
Your brand’s writing may have a primary and secondary tone. Your job is to create a consistent tone that aligns with your brand and its values.
Tone is important in brand voice because you want to consider how you want people to feel when they read your brand’s writing.
If your brand’s voice is a cheerleader, then the text will be uplifting with a “you can do it!” attitude. On the other hand, if your brand voice is one of doom and gloom, then the tone will be serious and likely more authoritative.
Let’s look at some examples to help make your tone clearer.
Brand Voice Tone Examples
We have a Waggle device for our travel trailer. It monitors the temperature, humidity, and power. If something is out of range or the trailer loses power, we get a text message.
When I bought the Waggle, I started getting their emails. Normally, I delete email newsletters because they don’t make me want to read them. They’re boring.
Well, that isn’t the case with Waggle’s emails! I’m absolutely delighted when their emails land in my inbox on Fridays. (How often can you describe yourself as “delighted” when getting a brand’s emails?) Here’s a snippet:
The image is animated with the dog bouncing up and then disappearing below. I just love it! Each week has a different, fun, animated image.
The email starts with, “Hello fantabulous readers,”
Fantabulous! How does reading that make you feel?
Under the image starts, “Welcome to another edition of our Friday shenanigans!” It’s not a newsletter. It’s shenanigans! That sets the stage for something fun.
The writer uses colorful metaphors and similies like a “cheetah on roller skates” and “my to-do list is overflowing like a burrito stuffed with too many toppings.”
Not only can I see those things in my mind, they make me smile. What about you? How do you feel after reading through this copy? Me? I’m grinning and can’t wait to read more.
Here’s another example from the Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) announcing a workshop coming this fall.
This newsletter is the facts and only the facts. What tone does this one have?
It’s a professional tone. There’s no emotion here – it’s just delivering the information. There’s not even a “hello” or “hi” at the top. No warm-up paragraph. It goes straight into the details. As a result, this comes across as cold.
Some of the words are pretty difficult, especially if you aren’t familiar with avalanche information. It may be a way of weeding out readers who aren’t a good fit while enticing those who are.
Just like with words, there’s no right or wrong. It’s about what you want your audience to feel. For the CIAC, they want their audience to know they’re a highly professional organization, and this workshop will be highly professional.
Now it’s time for you to start paying attention to how you feel after you’ve read an email or blog. Start thinking about what tone they’re creating because a lot of brands don’t take tone into account in their writing.
Maybe the next time you’re writing for your brand, you realize you want to change the tone. How do you do that?
How To Change a Tone
The words and cadence you use in your brand’s writing create brand voice and tone. Let’s play with the previous two emails and change the tone.
Here’s a revision of the Waggle one:
Welcome to another edition of our Friday newsletter!
I’m rushing to get this email done because my pup decided to tear up everything in the living room last night. I’ve got to clean up the mess, do laundry, and pay bills. My to-do list is longer than Rapunzel’s hair. I seriously need some help. Anyone?
This is more blah. There’s not much feeling in there other than frustration at getting this email out. That’s sooo different from the original. I wouldn’t look forward to that email landing in my inbox. Would you?
Here’s a revision of the CAIC one:
It’s almost our favorite time of the year! Before we know it, the mountains will be covered in the fluffy white stuff, and we’ll all be heading out to our favorite powder stash.
Before you head out into the backcountry, it’s just as important to tune up your avalanche skills as your skis. That’s why you need to be at our 22nd annual Colorado Snow and Avalanche Workshop (CSAW). We’re getting together on Friday, October 27, at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge so you can learn all the avalanche things before heading out into our beautiful mountains.
Re-writing the CAIC one was a lot more fun than the Waggle one. 😁 How do you feel reading the CAIC one now? I’d be tempted to attend, and I’m not even sure what “stability test comparisons” are.
Tone is a nuanced topic that takes time and practice to master. If you’re writing for your brand, think about the tone you want to create for your audience and infuse it in your writing and editing. You’ll get the hang of it.
Need Help With Your Brand Voice?
If you’re finding creating tone a challenge or aren’t sure what tone you should be using, then my Pinpoint Your Brand Voice package will help you leapfrog over the challenge of getting your brand voice just right. It includes everything you need to help you identify your brand voice, document the key elements, and how to use the tools to recreate it every time.
At the end of our 3-hour call, we’ll take some writing you’ve done and tweak it to match your ideal writing voice. Interested? Book a free, no-pressure, no-obligation call with me so we can chat about it.