The tone of voice (or TOV) is the tone a company chooses to communicate with its audience. It has to do with the writing style, expressions, and choice of words used to express your brand’s values effectively and consistently.
Every company decides how to communicate depending on its identity. Therefore, there are different types of TOV:
- cold (formal, specialist, bureaucratic);
- neutral (professional, matter-of-fact);
- warm (friendly, casual);
- colorful (irreverent, provocative, ironic).
How to define your TOV
- Study your audience: Who are your customers? What do they do? With the right TOV, you can engage an audience in line with your product or service.
- Identify your values: defining your brand core values helps you find the appropriate style to address your target audience.
- Be consistent: if you choose to be irreverent, keep a colorful tone for all your contents, creating a coherent common thread.
Your TOV should be unique, coherent, and, above all, reliable. Facts speak louder than words: to stay credible, you might need to adapt your style based on the communication channel. In other words, your tone should remain consistent but also fit the different tools you use, for instance, it might vary on social media and press.
Guidelines for an effective TOV
The correct use of TOV is paramount and can be better explained with some guidelines.
- Honesty: your writing should be straightforward, to the point and not too formal. At the same time, it should avoid inappropriate colloquialisms.
- Passion: words are meant to engage the reader and convey your passion.
- Reciprocity: keep in mind who your target audience is and their stated and implied needs.
- Character: the words you use are your brand's mirror. Talk, be positive, inform, and, only at the end, persuade.
- Accessibility: simplify your style to allow understanding.
Why is TOV essential?
The right TOV helps establish a dialogue between the brand and the user. It makes your personality stand out, differentiates your company from the competition, and builds a bond with the customer. TOV is a key part of successful brand communication.