Watch your tone


Why you need an authentic and consistent brand tone of voice.

Imagine if your roommate came downstairs one day and started speaking in a different accent. Bit weird. And then the next day, started barking at you like a dog. What’s going on? This is an insight into how your customers can feel when you don’t have a consistent tone of voice: very confused.

Brand tone of voice (TOV): how your brand chooses to communicate with your audience, including the choice of words, communication style and emotional tone. 

Every time you speak to your customers, whether it’s through social media, advertisements, marketing campaigns, or emails, you need to make sure they feel like they’re hearing from the same person. You’d probably feel pretty wary of someone whose personality changes day by day, so you need to make sure that your brand doesn’t do that either.

That’s not to say that you have to pick a mood and stick with it, e.g. you made one celebratory post about a new product and now every post has to be vibrating with the same excitement – especially if you’re trying to talk about something serious. Just like your personality goes through several moods, your brand tone of voice can do the same. You just have to make sure each mood fits your brand personality every time. 

Maintaining an authentic and consistent tone of voice is especially important in the environmental and green spaces, as people engaging with this sector have strong morals that they want to see reflected in companies they buy from. For example, you can’t claim to be a passionate vegan company then share photos scoffing meaty burgers from your team night out… it wont sit right at all with your customers.

Creating a tone of voice

There are a lot of things to consider when creating a tone of voice for your brand. For example:

  • Who are you?
  • Who would you like to be?
  • Who are you not?
  • What do you sound like?
  • What do you want to sound like?

To give you some inspiration, here are some pointers to think about when creating your tone:

Funny vs Serious
  • A funny tone results in the audience’s higher recall and more social shares, but may backfire and leave an impression of unprofessionalism
  • A serious tone gives a feeling of credibility and trust, but can give a feeling of tension
Casual vs Formal
  • A casual tone gives a feeling of a personality and friendliness, but can be viewed as a lack of expertise
  • A formal tone gives a sense of professionalism and authority, but lacks personality and gives a sense of indifference or building barriers
Irreverent vs Respectful
  • An irreverent tone gives a sense of confident knowledge and supremacy over competitors, but may intimidate or offend a reader
  • A respectful tone gives a sense of friendliness and cordiality, but may give an impression that you are trying to ingratiate yourself with a reader
Enthusiastic vs Matter-of-fact
  • An enthusiastic tone gives a sense of friendliness and willingness to help, but may fatigue or irritate a reader
  • A matter-of-fact tone gives a feeling of honesty and simplicity, but may be seen as indifference and lacking in personality

How to keep your tone in check


A consistent tone of voice will help your audience get to know your brand, remember it, and trust you. But how do you achieve that? In a perfect world, every business would have someone managing all communications so the tone of voice is naturally consistent, but that’s not the reality for most. And it doesn’t have to be.

Once you’ve nailed down your tone of voice, it’s definitely worth putting together a set of TOV guidelines or principles. This is a document that describes your tone of voice and can be referred to by every member of your team when they want to communicate with customers. You can even include a simple table of acceptable or unacceptable words and phrases. For example: we don’t say cheap, we say budget-friendly.

The more that your team gets used to the tone of voice you’ve created / tweaked, the more natural it will feel and the easier it will be to roll out. It just pays to be proactive and get your tone of voice nailed down as soon as possible, as it can make you look pretty silly, e.g., if your insta feed was bold and brash to begin with, but now it’s all cute-sy and soft.

You’ll find that your customers engage more with your brand once you create an authentic tone of voice because they can trust you, especially in the sustainable and eco-friendly market. In time, they will recognise your communications easily and stop to see what you’re saying because they’re invested in the positivity you create in the world and how good you make them feel.

Don’t know where to start? Before you go down a rabbit hole of branded existential dread, drop us a message and we can help kick your tone of voice into shape! We have lots of expertise in this area, especially when it comes to sustainable companies.