Tone of voice: how does a brand speak the same language with its audience on social media?
Tone of voice literally translated from English is the tone of voice. In marketing, this term refers to how a brand communicates with its audience. Each company has its own style, concept and values that are communicated to consumers. By the manner of communication between official representatives, tactics of maintaining the community on social networks, advertising campaigns, the audience has an opinion about the brand.
In this article, we will analyze why each company needs its own tone of voice and how to create it.
What tasks does tone of voice solve?
1. Increases company awareness
The more popular the brand, the more customers it attracts. The person develops a positive opinion based on the company’s content and the strategy of interacting with the audience. The higher the customer loyalty, the greater the chances of a deal.
2. Transmits brand values
Potential clients must follow up in all company actions with the assigned values and mission. The main principles are transmitted through communication with the audience, in creatives and offers, during events, and so on.
3. Keeps in touch with the consumer
To be successful in the marketplace, a brand must communicate with its audience, constantly fueling interest. The company’s image depends on the “voice” of the company. It is important to find the very style of communication that will resonate with consumers.
4. Helps to differentiate from competitors in the niche
Consumers find it increasingly difficult to choose between companies and similar products. To grab the attention of customers, brands develop their own style.
Let’s look at two fast food restaurants as an example: McDonald’s and Burger King.
McDonald’s adheres to traditional values. All advertising campaigns are built around family values, friendship, and spending time with loved ones. The tone of voice Burger King attracts attention with defiant slogans. The brand is often at the center of reputation scandals. But this is the case when the “bad” image plays into the hands. Instead of losing profits, Burger King, on the other hand, has a growing army of fans and advocates for the brand.
5. Increases the number of sales
The ultimate goal of tone of voice is to attract customers and increase profits. This element of the corporate identity of the company helps to advance in the market faster and more successfully.
Types of tone of voice
Depending on the concept and mission of the brand, there are conventionally 4 types of tone of voice:
1. Company friend
It is important here to balance on the verge of “authoritative performer” and “friend”. Such brands in social networks share the secrets of the “working kitchen”, introduce employees and communicate with the audience on “you”. In such a strategy, the main pitfall is not to overdo it with familiarity.
All content is built on an emotional component without dry facts and pathos. And advertising campaigns convey the desire to turn each customer into a friend.
As an example, let’s take the tone of voice of Beeline. The company manages to maintain balance and subordination with the audience, creating an image of a good friend and a commercial project at the same time.
2. Brand provocateur
Company policy is based on challenge rules. Brands grab attention with loud headlines balancing on the brink of decency. On social media, they initiate discussion of hot controversial topics, pushing the audience’s foreheads together to increase activity. But in this case, it is also important not to overdo it and not alienate consumers.
An example of a successful provocative offer:
And how NOT to be creative:
And although in the latter case the company achieved an effect – the restaurant was noticed, but the brand received such a flurry of criticism, the creativity hardly paid off.
3. Expert company
All content and advertising strategy is built on the idea of practical value and expertise in a specific niche. Brands publish life hacks, share useful secrets, conduct video broadcasts, demonstrating the benefits of the product. The tonality of the messages is mostly dry, official. But at the same time, being friendly is important!
The main thing is to speak the same language with the audience, explain complex things in simple language and help solve the problem.
4. The company that entertains
Entertaining content is the basis of the entire promotion strategy. Social media profiles are full of polls, tests, contests and similar activities. The agenda on the website and in social media is created in a humorous form. It is important to approach the content outside the box in order to attract attention.
An example of creative with humor from the Pattex brand: advertising of durable glue.
It is important to joke in a respectful manner to the consumer. Humor “on the brink” can cause a reputation scandal and forever “bury” the brand under a flurry of criticism. It is especially critical if the company manufactures products for children. Check out how Pampers tackled this challenge:
But the scandalous video from Wargaming almost cost the company a subpoena for promoting child abuse.
How to create your own tone of voice?
1. Write down the DNA of the company
First, make a brand book of the company. The document describes the values, mission and characteristics of the company. It’s important to focus on the top benefits: why should buyers choose your product?
2. Create a brand portrait
The brand department, while working on the second point, can dream up: if the company were a person, what personal characteristics would it have? Do not use general phrases, dig deeper: what hobbies the hero has, how others perceive him, what manner of communication, and so on.
3. Explore your audience and their preferences
If earlier a “simple” portrait of the target audience was compiled: gender, age, hobby, budget and so on, now companies need to study more factors. It is important to conduct research by getting to the bottom of the insights. Social listening is a must-have for marketers. By studying how the audience communicates on social networks, what topics they discuss, and so on, you can understand how to “hook” a buyer.
4. Determine the key
After you describe the “personality” of the brand and study the target audience, think about the tone of communication with the consumer. It is important to draw up a communication strategy that will build trust in the company.
To help the brand department, the Nielsen Norman Group agency has created a cheat sheet: how to determine the tone of voice.
The tone should not be rigid. If you choose to be always caring and create the image of a “friend”, then you can “play” with the message and make it a little cocky. Or, if you want to share interesting statistics or life hacks with the audience, it makes sense to use a formal and business message tone.
5. Audit the current situation
This point is important if you want to change the key. Conduct an audit of how the communication with the consumer was built before. Analyze all channels of contact with the audience.
If a brand positions itself as a friend on social networks, and managers communicate with clients dryly and emphatically officiously, then this will cause dissonance. Any discrepancy between reality and what the brand wanted to convey leads to irritation on the part of consumers.
Errors while creating tone of voice
1. Copy-paste from other companies
“We do it the way our competitors do” – no, it doesn’t work that way! If you copy ideas from big brands, then the idea immediately catches your eye. The consumer will stop trusting, and competitors will make anti-advertising, exposing the company in an impartial light.
2. Dramatically change the concept of tone of voice
Even if the company decided to change the tone and correct the “voice”, then this should not be too different from the usual communication style.
If a brand has positioned itself as a provocateur, then people will not understand why the concept has shifted towards dry or, conversely, too friendly communication.
3. Aggressive or disrespectful manner of communication
Customers don’t like being rude. Even if the brand is a provocateur, one cannot overstep the boundaries of what is permissible and violate the chain of command. Respect your audience, try to help solve customer problems, respond appropriately to complaints, and don’t go overboard with humor when responding to user comments on social networks.
Tone of voice is the main element of the company’s corporate identity. It depends on how much the brand stands out among competitors and attracts the attention of the audience. The concept of “voice” is built on the basis of the values and mission of the firm, which will be broadcast to the audience. Therefore, before thinking about the tone of voice, create a brand persona and study the target audience.
Change the original idea carefully, focusing on consumer preferences. Maintain a balance in humor, and also maintain a chain of command when communicating with clients.
And if you have questions about the article, write in the comments. You will be answered directly by the author or a specialist from our state.