Find a communication style that turns your audience into customers. We have six specific steps for you to guide you through the process. Learn why you need your “tone of voice” and how you can apply it.
What is tone of voice?
Tone of voice is your communication style. It is a chosen “tone”, choice of words, expressiveness, length of sentences … in short, the way your company expresses itself. It greatly affects how people perceive your brand. It’s not just about WHAT you communicate to customers, but also HOW. The tone of communication applies to all content that is online and offline under your brand – on websites, social networks, lectures at trade fairs, e-mails and elsewhere.
The tone of voice can vary slightly depending on its use and goals. For example, you formulate instructions differently than you would a post to social networks. You can also target more than one audience, which will also affect your communication style.
But while some nuances are necessary, your overall communication style should be consistent. This allows your audience to recognize your brand at a glance only by its content, even if they don’t see the company’s logo or name.
Why communication style matters
Your communication style can have a major impact on your relationship with customers and the general public, as well as the brand itself. Thanks to a consistent communication style:
- You connect with your audience and support dialogue. 65% of customers say they are emotionally connected to the brand that matters to them. A caring or friendly approach can get people to communicate with you more and ultimately become customers. Learn to communicate with the “wow” effect.
- You build the trust of the audience. For 81% of people, it is important to shop with brands that reflect their values. That is why it is important to communicate yours.
- People will easily remember you. A consistent tone of voice will make people remember you better. And this applies not only to written or spoken forms, but also, for example, easy to remember graphics or infographics. Keep this in mind when creating content without the help of a designer.
- You increase your company’s sales. All the previous reasons lead to one thing – in the end, consistent communication will help you increase sales.
If these reasons have convinced you, come and read how to work out a unified style of communication in six simple steps.
How to find your own style of communication
Tone of voice can be defined by an internal specialist, a marketing manager or, for example, a creative director. Or you can get our myTimi professionals for it. In any case, you need to know your audience, brand culture, history, and lots of other important values that have shaped your brand over time.
Step 1: Get to know your audience
Finding the perfect style of communication begins with understanding who your audience is and determining the language in which you will address them. It is important that people feel that you understand them and their needs and that they are not just a number for you. Empathy is important. People want to understand you, but most of all they want to know that you understand them.
- Examine your statistics in detail. For example, Google Analytics will help you with that. Find out age, gender, interests, education, hobbies – any data you have access to.
- Use this data to create a persona. Remember that your audience aren’t only buyers, but also potential customers who are seeing you for the first time.
- Determine how best to communicate with customers and how to treat them. As a friend or a caring grandmother?
Take the time to explore how your (potential) customers communicate with each other. What is the tone of their discussions, what do they like, what are their values, what content do they create among themselves? All this can help you create the ideal communication style.
Step 2: Define your core values
Transparency is important. When people trust you, they are more likely to buy from you – this is true for 95% of shoppers. If you want to define your core values, start by answering the questions:
- Why did you start a business?
- What makes your brand unique?
- What do you stand for as a brand?
- What values do you want to share in front of your audience? How should people see you?
These 11 specific questions will help you with brand positioning. You don’t carve your values into stone or publish them on your website. All you need is that you and your entire team knows about them and follows them. You can share them with your audience, for example, as part of your USP – a unique selling point.
Step 3: Audit current content and communications
Audit your existing content and communication style to see if you’re up to date. Make a list of your most powerful (again, Google Analytics will help), best, and most popular content. Does it match the brand values you want to communicate? Does it reflect the communication of your audience?
Step 4: Define your brand’s communication style
You’ve reached a point where you need to combine all the information you’ve gathered so far – a portrait of a person, brand values, and information about existing content. At this point, address three main elements:
- What you sound like.
- How you want to sound.
- How you don’t want to sound.
You can choose from almost endless lines of different communication styles:
Formal vs. informal
How formal you are has a big impact on how customers perceive your brand. Very formal language will help you be more authoritative, but on the other hand it is impersonal. Informal language, on the other hand, can create a sense of personal and friendly attitude, but it can seem unprofessional and inexperienced.
It also depends on the context. In customer service, such as handling complaints, the informal style can be perceived as elevated and insensitive.
How to make the communication style formal or informal? Typical for a formal style are:
- Longer sentences and clauses.
- Passive voice.
- Standard English.
Informal communication style includes:
- Shorter sentences.
- Active voice.
- Colloquial English.
Humorous vs. serious
Humor will help increase ease of remembering and gain more sharing, in addition, it can differentiate you from the competition. But it can work out. When not used wisely, the audience can be discouraged and leave an impression of unserious and unprofessionalism (or immorality), which is difficult to fix.
On the contrary, a serious tone helps to build credibility, but it lacks individuality and emotions. It can even make you feel tense.
Respecting vs. disrespectful
You could say that the decision is obvious here. Only play with a disrespectful tone if you are sure of what you are doing. It can make you sound confident and authoritative, or even evoke a sense of superiority over the competition. But it can also intimidate or offend.
On the other hand, respectful language evokes a friendly feeling. But don’t overdo it with a very respectful tone that gives the impression that you’re trying too hard. This is especially true in cold calling.
Factual vs. enthusiastic
An passionate and enthusiastic style of communication evokes a feeling of helpfulness and willingness, but at an inopportune time it can irritate. When language is matter-of-fact, it is sincere and simple, but it can also be perceived as indifferent and little distinctive.
How do you make the text sound enthusiastic? Use emotionally colored words and words that signify enthusiasm (“sensational”, “great”). Don’t be afraid to shout (“Great!”).
Step 5: Describe the communication style
Describe your brand’s communication style with specific adjectives. Conservative, funny, authoritative, respectful, sarcastic, playful, smart, teasing, romantic, informative, dry, friendly, sincere, nostalgic and anything else you can think of.
Make sure your descriptions aren’t contradictory. You want the characteristics to be in line with how you want (and don’t want) to sound and also with how your target audience communicates. Specify how you can achieve this voice – feel free to write down some sentences and answers and create a cheat sheet that you can share across the team.
Step 6: Implement tone of voice in communication
You can take your cheat sheet to a higher level by setting clear guidelines for your brand, with rules and examples. This will save you work, time and a lot of misunderstandings for the people who speak to your audience through your brand.
You can use the following outline to create a communication style guide:
- Your target goup’s persona and their voice.
- Your brand’s attitude towards customers (best friend, grandmother).
- Basic values and mission of the brand.
- Your mission and message to the audience.
- Specific vocabulary and rules.
- Clear examples in different contexts.
It is worth going through the whole process
By defining a communication style and setting clear guidelines, you can get to the forefront of any content. It is a key part of the development of content strategy and the whole brand. If you get a clear idea of where and how your audience communicates, you can define what your brand wants to say and how it can make it known to people.
Start with a simple step
If you aren’t sure where you would like to start, contact us. We will conduct a marketing audit in which we can find out how your strategy could work even better. And if you want a service with everything, we will write all your texts and create graphics for you.