Once you’ve nailed down your brand’s logo, color scheme, and social media handles, you’re done — right? Well, not quite. For B2C brands, finding a consistent and distinct tone of voice is crucial to nailing your content marketing strategy. By tone of voice, we’re referring to the deliberate way a brand expresses itself through written or spoken communication.
A well-defined tone of voice in marketing enhances brand recognition, builds trust, and fosters a deeper connection with customers. But it’s not always easy to get it right. Let’s go through the steps B2C brands should follow to find the ideal tone of voice for their content marketing.
Why the right tone of voice is so important
To put it simply, a brand’s tone of voice is its personality. It should dictate every aspect of customer communication, from packaging and ads to social media and website copy.
A brand’s tone of voice influences customer perception and engagement — which are both critical elements for success. It’s important to nail the right tone of voice and keep it consistent across all forms of communication. A consistent tone of voice helps foster brand loyalty and recognition.
A well-defined tone of voice in marketing enhances brand recognition, builds trust, and fosters a deeper connection with customers.
Whether it’s a friendly and approachable tone or a more formal and authoritative one, your brand’s chosen voice will be what customers continue to associate with you long after reading the content you create.
Both B2B and B2C businesses typically make their first contact with customers through written words. Establishing a tone from the beginning will build empathy and connection, which you can continue to build on throughout the customer journey.
A Harvard Business Review study found that, in terms of driving sales, emotional connection is more powerful than customer satisfaction. Finding and executing the right tone of voice can make a huge difference.
Tone of voice is a part of your larger brand identity. Your tone of voice is what you use to embody your brand identity and communicate it to customers.
3 great examples of brand tone of voice
So, when it comes to tone of voice, who’s getting it right? The best way to understand tone of voice is by looking at some great examples of it. If you think of your favorite brand, you can probably identify its tone from memory. Any brand that elicits a consistent and positive feeling has gotten its tone of voice right.
Duolingo is a great example of a brand implementing a strong tone of voice across all platforms, including their app. They embody a funny, witty, and creative vibe and produce lots of silly but engaging content on social media. Their brand voice ties perfectly into their value of making learning fun and accessible for everyone.
Slack uses clear and concise language to chat with its customers, keeping things straightforward. This tone of voice aligns perfectly with their brand mission — to make communication and productivity easy.
Dove has built its company around the ideas of inclusivity and diversity, which is reflected in its tone of voice. They use affirmative, uplifting language, with catchphrases like “self-esteem education” and “realize your full potential” which tie perfectly into their overall brand identity.
How to find the right tone of voice for your brand
Now that we know how important the right brand tone of voice is, let’s look at how to create one for your brand.
Know your audience
Understanding your target audience’s preferences, demographics, and psychographics is essential. There’s no point using business jargon if your target audience is teenagers and you shouldn’t use TikTok slang if you’re aiming to reach business professionals.
Creating persona profiles for each ideal customer is a good way to map out all the different people you’re trying to target. This will give you an in-depth look at what they like to engage with and their personal motivations. From these profiles, you can then personalize your tone of voice to line up with each customer you’re aiming to reach.
Define your brand’s personality
Just like individuals, brands have personalities and a brand’s personality traits should align with its tone of voice. Some potential personality traits could include:
Decide the adjectives that best describe the personality of the brand, and channel those when creating your tone of voice.
Understand the industry and competition
It’s not enough to simply understand your brand identity and your consumers inside and out — you’ve also got to have a keen grasp of the rest of the industry too. Evaluating the industry landscape and your competitors’ tone of voice is an important step when finding your brand’s own voice and identity.
Then, you can conduct a competitive analysis to identify gaps and opportunities that your brand can fill.
Finding a competitor who has absolutely nailed their brand tone of voice can give you some great insights. Pick apart the written content they’ve shared, identify the words and phrases that are most powerful, and figure out what it is that makes them work. From there, brainstorm how you can create a similar but unique tone of voice.
Crafting your tone of voice
There are a lot of different elements that make up a tone of voice! Let’s take a minute to break down everything that goes into crafting a brand’s tone, including vocabulary, sentence structure, and emotions.
Word length and vocabulary
Shorter words make your content accessible and easy to read and can often convey a tone of immediacy and boldness. Meanwhile, longer, more flowery words can give your content a softer and more relaxed feel. Consider the particular tone your brand wants to adopt, and let it shine through in your vocabulary.
No matter what, you should be able to read a whole sentence out loud in a single breath. The American Press Institute found that when sentences were longer than 43 words, comprehension dropped to lower than 10%. You don’t want to confuse, then lose, your customers.
Longer sentences are fine if that’s the tone you are choosing to convey, while shorter sentences tend to pack a punch and really drive a point home.
Infusing emotion into your communication helps your brand establish a deeper and more meaningful connection with your audience.
Carefully choose your words to elicit your desired emotion through your written content. Do you want readers to feel excited? Educated? Entertained? Emotion doesn’t just help people make decisions when overwhelmed by choice but also will effectively convey your brand tone and attitude. People are more likely to respond, comment, and share content that evokes emotions, thus enhancing the brand’s reach and visibility. Plus, emotionally resonant content will help foster long-term relationships with customers.
Your choice of pronouns can have a big effect on the way readers perceive your content. Will you refer to yourself in the first person, e.g. “we”, or third person, e.g. “Scribly”? The first person is immediate and personable, while the third person is a bit more detached and formal.
Consider the same when addressing customers. Will you use “you” to speak to them directly, or will you go with a more detached approach, referring to them as customers or consumers?
Telling stories through branded content can be incredibly effective for enhancing a tone’s authenticity and relatability, again appealing to customers’ emotions.
You could tell the brand’s origin story and the steps it took to become the company it is today. You could share customer journeys using real-life people who have benefited from your products or services. Or you could craft stories that showcase your brand’s core values, showcasing how they are put into action through real experiences.
Integrating storytelling techniques into your brand’s tone of voice will create a narrative that is authentic, relatable, emotionally engaging, and memorable.
Test and refine
The only way to know if your brand’s tone of voice is right is to watch it in action. You can create a sample content bank with different tones and then gauge how your audience responds to each one. Or, implement an A/B testing system and analyze metrics to see what tone is most successful.
Once you’ve established a strong brand tone of voice, your work isn’t over yet. Testing and refining it is a crucial ongoing process that ensures your communication remains effective, engaging, and aligns with your goals and values.
Learn more about content marketing with Scribly
For more in-depth guides about all things content marketing, the Scribly blog has you covered. Start with our Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing, which lays the essential groundwork to nail your strategy.
Our B2C Content Marketing Guide is also packed with helpful information for any organization looking to make a splash.
And for help crafting the perfect tone of voice for your brand, get in touch with the content marketing experts at Scribly today!