It is a well know fact that your company tone of voice is what can make or break your business especially in the super competitive world of today. It just isn’t enough to rely on a cool logo, consistent branding and a punchy slogan for differentiation from other brands.
They are important factors but they represent only one piece of the larger brand story. If you’re going to connect with your customers on a level that makes them want to follow you and makes them want to advocate on your behalf, then you need to say something that matters in a way that feels personal to them. Makes them feel a piece of that story. This is where tone of voice makes all the difference.
Below some awesome tone of voice documents to help guide you on your way:
Mailchimp is all about measuring the tone of the audience. Their voice doesn’t change very often but their tone changes all the time. They like their message to be clear and easy to understand. Plainspoken, Genuine, translators with a dry sense of humour.
Virgin Mobile keep things concise! Virgin Mobile use their tone to differentiate from their competitors by using 5 main rules: Stay positive, keep it simple, use humour, be human, make it fresh. The balance is so important.
‘We want the IKEA Brand to be a strong, optimistic and trusted voice in the world. ‘ Ikea is a global brand. For them the message is about keeping the tone and voice consistent but making it relatable so that it doesn’t become lost in translation. There is a great simplicity to the IKEA way of thinking.
Shopify – adapt your tone to context and situation. It’s important to make sure that the tone is not aggressive, patronising or blunt. Shopify help their brands using their platform by using an appropriate and level tone and voice.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the openness of Uber‘s brand design team and how they have dedicated sharing the evolution of their brand online. In its latest guise, this website takes you through not only the core brand elements but the story and importantly Tone of Voice guidelines. It explains with visuals how they used to speak and how it should be applied today, along with easy to follow guidelines and practical examples. A best in class example of how to instruct their marketers on how to ‘sound like Uber’.
Airbnb adopt a similar approach to Uber with their creative design hub which is full of articles documenting the evolution of their brand. Here I have highlighted one article which discusses crafting their voice which is straightforward, inclusive, thoughtful, and spirited.
Tone of Voice is the way that you as an organisation communicate your personality and how you influence how your audience will feel, so it is crucial you get it right. But not necessarily first time and as we’ve seen the biggest brands in the world constantly evolve, and so does their voice. Hopefully this has given you some references to inspire the guidelines you’re putting together for your business. If you’ve seen others, please feel free to share in the comments.