Monday, November 09, 2015
by Denfield

Don’t take that tone with me!

How to discover your brand tone of voice – Part One

Have you ever found yourself in an argument without knowing why? Sometimes tone of voice can convey more about intention than words themselves. Exactly the same applies in marketing - a brand’s tone of voice is one of their most essential tools - get it wrong, and this can spell disaster; get it right, and it could mean notoriety for all the right reasons.

So, what exactly is tone of voice and how is it used in brand marketing? Essentially, a brand’s tone of voice is an expression of how they think, their values, and therefore, how they connect with their customers. Tone of voice helps build trust and set a brand apart from their competitors.

If a brand has marketed themselves well, it should be easy to recognise them from their tone of voice. Let’s take Jack Daniels, for example; Jack Daniels is instantly recognisable by their tone of voice – their marketing is always ‘on brand’. They represent quality and indulgence. The slow, drawn out storytelling across all their marketing materials are stories told by individuals involved with the creation of Jack Daniels, mirroring the process involved in making the whiskey.

Jack Daniels

‘Easy!’ You might be thinking, but in fact, creating a reputable tone of voice that stands out and truly embodies an individual brand isn’t as easy as you might think. A brand’s tone of voice is its personality; it must therefore grow organically out of the company’s values and ethos. Alongside this, the style of language used is very important. Formality conveys professionalism but has a risk of lacking personality; informality conveys individualism but can sometimes lack authority. However, if you truly understand your brand’s core values and what you want to achieve, this informality can come across equally as authoritative and make more of an impact due to its confidence and distinctiveness.

If a piece of generic direct marketing from your bank fell onto your ‘Welcome’ mat first thing in the morning, you probably wouldn’t remember the message it was conveying come lunchtime, however, if a piece of direct marketing from a distinctive brand like, for example, Scottish beer seller Brewdog dropped on your ‘Welcome’ mat, you may still be thinking about its brand messaging, and even discussing it with your friends at lunch. With its controversial messaging, Brewdog sends a big f*** you, not to its customers, but to the advertising world’s rules and regulations. Its customers seem to appreciate its colloquial language and bawdy humour, the likes of which are rarely found in other brands. Like it or loath it – it gets your attention. What’s more, this tone of voice perfectly communicates the company’s values and ethos. James Watt, one of Brewdog’s two founders recently commented, “We are always happy to take a gamble. I think in today’s marketplace playing it safe is a bit of a risk as well.”

Brewdog campaignss

Intrigued? Check back next week for part two.