Monday, November 23, 2020

Copywriting: How to Hit the Right Tone

Craft the right tone across all of your copy.

Personality of a Brand, or Tone of Voice

The way we talk reflects our personality, the same applies to a product brand. 

Brands are no different, the words they use reflect the personality of a brand.  The audience you're targeting will connect with the tone you choose, and this will help to convey the brand's consistency, character and value.  Let's dig a little deeper.

1. Consistency

In order to paint a clear picture for the reader there needs to be consistency all the way through the copy.  If the tone changes frequently, people will quickly switch off, and start to forget it.

All marketing channels, products, ads, and campaigns must have the same consistent message and tone throughout.  You can change marketing campaigns, but you can't change the brand's voice.  

That's why all brands carry their visual identity with them, using consistent typography, symbols, colour and imagery through everything they produce.  

The way the brand looks is just as important as it sounds to the consumer.  Companies use their branding everywhere these days, from the stationery in an office, to the signs used in the staff car park.  It shows the audience and staff that the company brand has one cohesive voice.

2.  Character

If people don't remember a brand, it's usually because they don't like the way it sounds.  But with a consistent tone of voice, you can start to express the brand's unique personality.

Effective copy will utilise creative ideas, and offer appealing writing to make a product stand out from the crowd more.  With the right tone of voice the reader will be engaged because the brand is showing an interesting personality they can connect with.  Which means they'll listen to it whenever they watch an ad campaign or read an ad in a newspaper.

People will go out of their way to listen to a brand's message. This couldn't be more clear than when a company, such as John Lewis, a well-known British brand, releases their Christmas ad campaign.

The brands we choose to buy from are the ones we are more likely to tune into, because we enjoy what the brand has to say.

This doesn't mean the brand will be popular with everyone, it just means we've identified the right audience.

3.  Value

A brand that consistently conveys likability, will also communicate value.  This means the reader trusts the voice they're listening to.  This kind of brand offers its audience valuable products that are reliable and have long-lasting selling power.

A brand makes a promise to its consumers, the tone of voice ensures that message gets across consistently irrespective of the situation, time or product.

A brand is more than a logo or slogan, it's how the audience perceives the brand that gives them their marketability.  

A company needs everything to work together, in order to give its audience an experience they'll remember, and keep coming back for.  Creating the right tone is still an important part of the branding process, because it will help bring in new customers, and keep the loyal ones happy too.

Investigating Brand Character

The things we say reflect our personality, and the same can be said of any brand.  Which is why you need to set the right tone.  To do this you need to look into the brand's personality and what it stands for.

Begin by looking at the brand as a person.  And start asking questions like:

  • What kind of a personality do they have?
  • What are their values?
  • How do they run their business?
  • What are their friends like?
  • What kind of clothes do they like?
  • What does their house look like?
  • Do they have any hobbies or interests?
  • What's their favourite food?

All of these questions reveal a lot about someone's personality, and this is no different to a brand's personality.  Use these questions to write your own character summary.

Use a Human Voice

If you want a brand to stand-out from the crowd it needs to have its own voice, and not sound like every other corporate entity out there.  You can reach an audience much quicker if you don't like everyone else. 

Start asking yourself questions like:

  1. What is the brand passionate about?
  2. What problems do they solve?
  3. How can they help the consumer?

Get to know more about the founder of the company, start looking into the way the company is run, and how the offices are furnished.  This will give you a real sense of what the company's personality is about.

Be Truthful

The tone you use needs to be a true reflection of what the reader will expect when they buy the product.  Instead people will become less convinced of what the brand has to offer.

Brand Values

This is the core of what the brand stands for, and how it will help the customer.  All of these characteristics should permeate throughout the brands ad campaigns and newsletters etc.  

Not every brand has their values set in stone.  Whatever the situation you need to know this before you can decide on the right tone.

You should be able to define a brand's values by about three to five different characteristics.  If the brand you're writing for happens to have 'understated' or 'modest' as part of their values, they won't want those thrown around in public.  Some values show through in what you don't say.

Creating the Right Tone of Voice

Now that you've sorted out the brand's values, you need to use them to set the foundation for the tone you'll be using.

Some Other Useful Tips on Finding the Right Tone

It's also useful to look at other human characteristics in order to help you describe the right tone.  

For example:

  • How long has the brand been around?Is the brand more suited to men or women, or is it universal?
  • Where does the brand come from?  Does it have English as its first language?
  • Did the brand start in a particular time period?

Use a different culture or brands to describe your tone in broader terms. 

Tone of Voice Rules

Some companies may have already chosen their tone of voice, and have it already recorded in a document for you to look through.  These guidelines will help you to write consistently throughout any project you work on for that particular company.  

If you've worked for the same company more than once, you've probably built up a tone of voice with that particular company, so you may not need to write down a set of values.  

Or maybe you find that the more you write about a product the more the tone comes through.  

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Read more:

How to Sharpen Your Copywriting Skills

Copywriting, What's it all About?

Copywriting: Understanding the Product You're Writing About

Copywriting: How to Recognise Your Reader

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