Er sorry, who do you think you’re speaking to in that tone?

Scott and I are generally very easy breezy, especially with each other. We never argue, which is why when things get a bit stressy, and there is the slightest raised voice, I need to remind him who he’s talking to: 

‘Please don’t shout at me, love.’ 

There has never been an instance of shouting at each other in our entire five years, but we’re both very sensitive to even the slightest change in tone. It’s become almost a funny or an icebreaker when things are getting tense. Sometimes I accompany my request with a cushion thrown on the ground, and sometimes he’ll pick up and slam a coaster. It’s wild in our house. Truly. 

We just know each other really well, and we’re susceptible to tone. 

Do you know who else is susceptible to your tone and voice? Your ideal and potential customers. Yeah, you knew this blog was somewhat relevant to marketing and copywriting, right?!

We hear often about importance of words, but I don’t think enough attention is given to the power of tone and voice. The style of voice that you use will have a lot to do with how your readers feel about what they’re reading, which ultimately leads into how they feel about you and your brand.

If you use the right tone of voice for your ideal audience in your marketing and copy, they’ll feel connected to your brand and like they can relate to you. Use the wrong tone of voice? You’re just more noise in a world of brands shouting about their stuff. 

What tone of voice is for you? 

The tone can be severe or fun in your copy (and branding overall), cutting edge or old-fashioned. It’s important to know who your target audience is so that you speak in the right tone of voice for them. 

Do you know what vibe your business or brand is giving off with your tone of voice?  Your tone has a lot to do with people’s perception of what they’re reading. If someone feels like they are being shouted at or reprimanded, they’ll shut down and not read anything else on the page. If they read your marketing blurb and feel PUMPED, then they’re probably more likely to connect with you. 

Common tones of voice

Ultimately, the right tone of voice for your brand will get your audience all revved up and excited. The wrong tone of voice will turn them off and leave them brushing off your advances and telling you they have a headache.

Here’s just a few examples of common choices for a brand’s tone of voice:

Quirky

Light-hearted, happy and positive, I’m not sure if I would say it appeals to everyone, but this tone of voice will appeal to those who want a more positive and kinder vibe in their marketing. This type of branding goes hand-in-hand with fun photos, quirky captions and emojis. Plus, made-up words or adding on ‘-ish’. 

The best example of a brand with a fun or quirky tone of voice that comes to mind is probably Innocent Drinks.

Corporate

Straight to business, no-nonsense and very formal. If your brand has a more mature or professional target audience who wants something serious, this tone of voice will be for them. 

Some brands speak to their customers in a voice that is very instructional and functional. These brands want you to know they are your superior, so you don’t question anything. 

Knowledgeable

Want to position yourself as an expert with great information to share? Then this is the voice for you. Typically, most commonly used in an academic setting, they want people to know how knowledgeable their brand or content creators are about a topic. This tone can be kind of pretentious, but if it’s your niche, you might not care as much because this will speak to your ideal audience. 

Dreamy 

Ah, light, sweet, romantic and blissful. Dreamy works for brands selling aspirations in their marketing, such as an e-commerce site selling floral arrangements or home decor, like candles and statement pieces. 

Trendy 

Cool, sarcastic and trendy af. See what I did there? This tone might not be for everyone because we’re not all cool enough, but if you’re marketing something to a younger audience of millennials, this will probably resonate with them. This goes hand-in-hand with abbreviations like ICYMI, IRL and af. 

Apple is an excellent example of a brand using trendy tone of voice; their target audience are millennials who’ve grown up with their tech and this tone works perfectly for targeting them.

Helpful 

Light, friendly and typically educational. It kind of does what it says on the tin. This works well for service providers that are looking to share their expertise in an approachable way.  

Aggressive

Do you even lift, bro? 

I can’t think of too many brands that would want to be aggressive in their tone of voice. But I guess if you want to inspire Kitchen Nightmare USA style results or action in your audience, then maybe an aggressive Gordon Ramsey tone of voice will work for you. 

Of all the brands that probably want to be a bit aggressive in their tone of voice, it’s probably fitness brands who will want to make sure their target audience knows they’re serious about getting fit, pumping iron and taking care of themselves.

When this tone is being used, the brand might post-workout photos with motivational captions or videos of people are at a gym working out hard. They’ll use phrases like “a strong body starts with a strong mind” or something similar.

Which tone of voice is right for you? 

This will totally depend on who you’re trying to target and how they speak, respond and interact with brands. And of course, tone of voice can be a lovely little Venn diagram of overlap; maybe you want dreamy and quirky, quirky and aggressive (… sure?) or knowledgeable and helpful.

If you’re unsure about what kind of tone of voice to commit to, do some market research before you jump into your branding and copy. Maybe do some social listening and scope out where your ideal audience are hanging out to see the language, phrasing and tone they’re using. 

Most importantly, know the voice you’re using when you start building up your content so that it speaks to your audience and not at them.

Feel like you don’t even know where to start with your tone of voice or how to convey your messaging to your ideal audience? But you really want to connect with your audience and get them pumped up to hang out with you? Let’s chat! As well as writing your copy, I can help you to decide your tone and even help you create a tone of voice document that connects perfectly with your brand guidelines. Find out more about my services here.

Published by Saloni Chamberlain

Turning words into stories with feeling.

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