Lena Shumnaya
Let Customers Recognize You by the Way You Speak. The Guide to Finding Your Brand's Tone of Voice
The tone of voice reflects your brand personality and helps you to stand out from the competitors. We will tell you how to find and use it.
Imagine that a brand is a living person. For example, Burger King is a restless teenager, but McDonald's is more like a kind family man. Apple is a stylish hipster, while Amazon is an omniscient boomer. The list could go on forever. But what helps us to understand what the company likes? It's the tone of voice.
The tone of voice, also known as ToV, describes the principle of the brand’s communication with the audience and draws attention to its values. The tone of voice is all about the brand language, but it’s not what you speak—it’s the way you do it.
In general, if a brand is a person, then the tone of voice is this person’s speech. The person can speak quickly or slowly, can talk a lot or be almost speechless.
Using speech, brands compete for customers' attention, increase the loyalty of their audience and stand out from competitors. Let’s go back to McDonalds and Burger King. It's a perfect example of how different fast food companies can be. Their different images are formed by different tones of voice.
Let’s discuss what images brands try on when they use this or that tone of voice. You know that you can use any of these images too, right?
This is how brands, which are often referred to as “for people”, communicate with customers. This style of communication of the “next door guy” can repel some people, while others like honest conversations with no subordination. Here are distinguishing characteristics of the tone of voice that brands-”friends” use.
Like a Provocateur
This image is used by brands that are not afraid to spit on public opinion and go against moral and ethical principles even. It takes courage to deal with customers like this. A variety of companies, both local and international, can discover this courage in themselves. This is how brands-provocateurs communicate.
Like an Expert
Brands that like to share useful information try on an expert image. They know how to explain complex things simply, and they are happy to educate their clients. Here's how they communicate.
Like TV
Well, or like radio. Or like a magician in a circus. Like someone who wants to entertain his audience. The main tool of such brands is their captivating content. And here’s how they usually present it.
Of course, every brand communicates with customers to sell as much as possible. But details of the communication can differ sometimes. And these details help the brand in building its image. Here's how you can communicate with your customers.
Like a Friend
Talk to you even about their tiniest achievements and events.
Are not afraid to admit mistakes and failures.
Like the Q&A format.
Share personal experience with their clients.
Raise and reveal difficult topics.
Conduct educational activities.
Use non-standard newsbreaks.
Like to joke.
Think how they can entertain with their products.
Use interactive forms of content — quizzes, games, polls and tests.
Initiate heated discussions and debates to increase activity.
Use outrageous headlines and defiant slogans.
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Use the words “friend” and “friends”.
No numbers or boring statistics.
Use situational marketing to keep up with the hype.
Interact with the audience constantly.
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5 Tips for Finding Your Tone of Voice
The tone of voice should match the brand image. So, the brand should first decide on the image, and only then look for its voice.
Here are 5 tips for finding it.
Don't chase current trends—find all-time values of your audience instead. What is more important for your customers—high quality or low prices? Do they dream of friendly service or a unique product? Or maybe the most important thing for them is fast delivery? Choose from a variety of valuables that will be easy to sell.
Remember that you are here for a long time.
Find out where your target audience lives, what they do for a living, and how old its average representative is. All of this will help you understand what kind of speech the audience likes. Conversational or businesslike, simple or sophisticated, modern or conservative? It's time to choose!
Know your target audience.
Brands are always in touch with their audience on social networks. But while some are offended by the comments of haters, others turn negativity into new sales. Just remember to suit the chosen image and don’t cross the line of what is permitted.
Define a strategy to deal with negativity.
The all-time values ​​of your customers + your unique features = advantages that set you apart from your competitors. Don't forget to use them while communicating.
Use your advantages.
Stay connected.
Social networks, instant messengers and other modern channels of communication with the audience give you the opportunity for dialogue. Engage in it with your clients. Regular communication will help you understand who you are and what your tone of voice is.
Your Voice is Already with You
A brand that clearly understands its mission and knows the target audience well won’t have problems with finding its voice. You don't need to invent it—just take three steps to it.
Just start talking to the customers in the way that suits you, and they will hear your individual voice.
And communicate with customers the way the person would communicate with them.
Are you a friend, a provocateur, an expert, or a merry fellow? Choose your image and don’t ever forget about it.
The topic of the conversation will help you find the right tone.
Understand who you want to be in the eyes of customers.
Provide customers with their all-time values through your unique advantages.
Imagine your brand as a person.
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