Understanding the Writing Style for Your Brand

Understanding the Writing Style for Your Brand

“Hey dude… ‘sup?”

You wouldn’t address the CEO of an investment brokerage firm this way. So why would you speak to your retired Baby Boomer clients as if they are Generation Z high schoolers?

An inconsistent tone of voice can confuse and mislead your customers and clients. And sooner or later, these mixed messages can unravel your identity.

That’s why it’s important to understand your brand personality style. A few things to consider:

  • Is sarcasm the same as humor?
  • Is it ever okay to drop the “f” bomb?
  • Is the slang used off-target with readers?
  • Does formal language make our brand seem uptight?

Let’s explore a few of these tone of voice examples, shall we?

Brand Spanking New

So, let’s say you recently launched a printable label sheets website and are ready to get the word out. To achieve a successful tone of voice, you need to understand who you are having a conversation with.

to get the best possible traffic to your site, right?

If you haven’t already done your analytics homework, now would be a good time. Tap into this rich source of data before you do anything else. The right tone will help you boost your website traffic, too.

Once you have your audience stats, it’s time to take a deeper look at yourself.

Identity Crisis

Communication is all about making a connection. If your brand personality is consistent with your message, then trust can be built. Not only will you prove yourself to be reliable, your clients will begin to recognize your tone.

Make sure you have a solid grasp on not only who you are speaking to but how you say it. It’s helpful to use the five W’s as a starting point:

  • Who: Who is the audience?
  • What: What is the intention of your message?
  • When: When is it appropriate to say XYZ?
  • Where: Where have they read this before? Consistency is key.
  • Why: Why should they care? Your tone gives them a few reasons to.

Know Thy Brand Tone

Tone is the result of when what you say and how you say it collide.
Be willing to dig deeper and define your brand’s personality. A few key questions to ask yourself are:

  • What does my brand want to achieve?
  • What type of personality does my brand have?
  • What does my brand say about its view of the world?
  • What culture does my brand align with?
  • Who embodies my brand’s tone?
  • What values does my brand uphold?

Tone of Voice Examples:

What does your tone of voice say about you or your product? Are you impulsive? Playful? Bold?

Are you projecting an authoritative tone as an expert in your field? Do you publish technical jargon only shareholders understand? Do you lay the flowery prose on thick?

The Nielson Group identified four tone of voice examples:

  • Funny vs. serious
  • Formal vs casual
  • Respectful vs irreverent
  • Enthusiastic vs. matter-of-fact

Here are a few recognizable brands and their tones:

Capital One: What’s in your wallet? (Casual)

Nationwide: Nationwide is on your side (Matter-of-Fact)

Hooters: Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined (Irreverent)

Lay’s Potato Chips: Betcha can’t eat just one! (Enthusiastic)

Clearly, all of these tones are appropriate because there is brand consistency.

Don’t Be Tone Deaf

No matter how good our tone intentions are, sometimes wires can get crossed.

Sarcasm is a good tone of voice example that can backfire. Although sarcasm is often written with extra visual cues like bold type, quotation marks or in all caps, it’s not a language that everyone speaks.

People learning the English language often had the greatest challenges with deciphering sarcasm, so be mindful when using this tone.

What if You Don’t Have a Tone?

If you’re still having trouble defining your brand tone, don’t fret. We’ve got a few ways you can jumpstart your vision and get back to business:

  • Gather everyone in your organization for a brainstorming session. Ask questions. Role-play the various messages.
  • Figure out who you are as both a group and as individuals.
  • Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate.
  • Let someone else take over.

Remember to be consistent with your tone, whether it’s sarcastic, business casual or professional, and you’re guaranteed to be successful.

Now that you have some tips to better define your tone, make sure to check out the site for more helpful writing tips!