Brand Voice & Tone Matter More Than You Think

July 22, 2018
  • Brand voice is personality. It stands for your brand’s values, aspirations, and beliefs
  • Brand tone is attitude. It stands for your brand’s point of view for any given situation based on its personality.
  • Maintaining brand voice and tone across content is important because inconsistent voice and tone can put your readers or consumers on guard, and undermine your efforts.

Content is king and everything the light touches is its kingdom. According to a survey by Smart Insights, 20% of marketers believe that content marketing will make the largest commercial impact in 2018. With so much focus on content generation serving multiple purposes – search engine optimization (SEO), voice search engine optimization, consumer education, connecting with consumers, building a digital journey – it’s no wonder many marketers are incorporating content marketing in their strategic plans. But as marketers and content writers crank out articles, white papers, blog posts, ad copy, and other dynamic content that supports their marketing strategies, it’s important to maintain the brand’s voice and tone – making it necessary to establish such parameters at the onset.

You may be wondering, “Does it really matter? Will readers pick up on it?” The short answer is, “yes,” particularly in a world where marketing collateral is integrated and complementary to a complete user journey. Inconsistent voice and tone are noticeable and can undermine your efforts.

To establish these parameters up front, the content team at 83bar has provided the following guidelines:

Brand Voice

The brand voice is a brand’s personality. A personality made up of values, vocabulary, and other characteristics.

Consistent Voice Examples

“When we travel it isn’t always smooth sailing. Adventure in Real Life is a film about six friends and a dream trip to Patagonia that doesn’t go as planned. Presented by REI. Watch the film now.

“You, some mini-adventures-like rock climbing-plus hundreds of friends. Don’t miss out on year one of Outessafest.

Inconsistent Voices Examples

“Our program focuses on treating the entire self: Addressing each woman’s physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social needs.”

“Giving back in recovery! Staff and clients of our Lemont PHP volunteered their time and services last week at Feed My Starving Children. The work not only impacts children and communities in desperate need but our hearts and lives as well.”

Reading over the consistent voice examples, one has the sense that they align and represent the same brand in spite of referring to two different events. The primary focus of the consistent examples is travel and adventure. Meanwhile, the inconsistent examples demonstrate two different focuses – the program and its volunteers. However, it is unclear if both are part of the same brand – the first is direct and serious while the other is heartfelt and upbeat.

Brand Tone

If voice is a brand’s personality, tone is a brand’s attitude about any given situation.

Consistent Tone Example

“We give our world-class perfumers the freedom to take risks and the time to perfect their craft.”

“We decided to go another way: we designed an opaque bottle, made with an industry-leading 20% recycled glass, to protect our scents.”

Inconsistent Tone Example

“We’re a small recovery center that provides an intimate atmosphere that is the perfect place to begin the healing process.”

“Our recovery center treats major depressive disorder using cognitive behavioral therapy.”

The consistent brand tone examples are communicating features of their product in a crisp, direct manner while maintaining a slight playfulness. While in the inconsistent tone example, though both instances talk about recovery, the first example has a warm and friendly tone while the second is direct and indifferent.

Have you ever listened to a person who is inconsistent in their storytelling, or the way they convey information? Once you noticed their inconsistencies, did you continue to take them at their word or did you start asking clarifying questions and take everything with a grain a salt? If your readers pick up on the inconsistencies across your content – online or offline –  they’ll experience this same sensation. Consistency in brand voice and tone supports the relationship between brand and consumer; it drives trust and serves as the cornerstones to a brand’s overall marketing strategy.