Successful communication is made up of three parts; the words you use, your tone of voice and body language. I’d love to say that I came up with this theory, but it was actually Albert Mehrabian who suggested it. And while that ethos suggests 55% of successful communications comes down to body language; that isn’t exactly helpful when your marketing tends to stop at a screen.
Thirty eight percent of successful communication falls with tone of voice – but you’re missing another 55% – it’s fairly safe to say that nailing this for your brand is pretty imperative. After all, tone of voice communicates who your brand is; what it stands for and helps to set the foundation for your use of language throughout your campaign (note - the latter apparently makes up 7% of successful communication). After all, you can produce a great campaign in theory, but if your audience doesn’t resonate or engage with your brand’s ‘personality’; then can you really expect to achieve your KPIs? For example, if you want your brand to be relatable, you might risk alienating your customers with a tone that is either too quirky or authoritative.
Some things to think through with your brand’s tone of voice:
• Who are our customer segments?
• What are the value propositions for each customer segment?
• What are the key words and phrases that resonate with each?
• How do their needs relate with the benefits of our products?
• What does our current rate of engagement tell us?
And then ultimately, how does that all affect how our customers should experience our brand’s tone of voice?
It’s also important to consider how your biggest competitors position themselves with their tone of voice. For example, if your competitors came across as cold and impersonal, then how could you use that information to position your brand as influential, yet relatable? This type of analysis then opens up an opportunity to really differentiate your brand via communication styles and build a relationship of trust.
Defining your brand’s tone of voice isn’t necessarily an easy or quick process, so once you've got it right, it’s important to keep it consistent. To read more about this topic, see “Who’s on Brand.”