Now Reading: The Tone of Voice Design Explained

Loading
svg
Open

The Tone of Voice Design Explained

February 10, 202329 min read

The tone of voice design refers to the process of creating a consistent and distinctive style of communication for a brand or organization. This can include elements such as language choice, sentence structure, and level of formality. The tone of voice should align with the brand’s overall personality and messaging and should be consistent across all forms of communication, including website content, social media, advertising, and customer service interactions. The goal of the tone of voice design is to create a unique and recognizable voice for the brand and to build trust and connection with its audience.


How to Perform a Tone of Voice Design for a New Brand [Step-by-Step Guide]

Creating a consistent and distinctive style of communication for a brand is an important step in building trust and connection with its audience. The tone of voice design is the process of creating a unique and recognizable voice for the brand. It involves elements such as language choice, sentence structure, and level of formality. In this guide, we will go over the steps to creating a successful tone of voice design for a new brand.

Step 1: Define the brand’s personality

Before creating a tone of voice, it is important to understand the brand’s overall personality. This includes its values, mission, and target audience. Ask yourself: How does the brand want to be perceived? What are its core values? Who is its target audience?

Example: A new organic food brand may want to be perceived as healthy, natural, and environmentally friendly. Their core values may be health, sustainability, and transparency. Their target audience may be health-conscious individuals who care about where their food comes from.

How to Define the Brand’s Personality?

An example of how to define the brand’s personality for a fictional eco-friendly clothing brand:

Brand Name: EarthThreads
Define the brand’s personality
  • Values: Sustainability, eco-friendliness, and social responsibility.
  • Mission: To create high-quality clothing that is environmentally friendly and ethically produced, while promoting sustainable living and social responsibility.
  • Target audience: Conscious consumers who care about the environment and want to make a positive impact through their purchasing choices.

Example: EarthThreads is an eco-friendly clothing brand that is committed to sustainability, eco-friendliness, and social responsibility. We want to be perceived as a trusted source of high-quality, environmentally friendly, and ethically-produced clothing that appeals to conscious consumers who care about the environment.


Step 2: Research the competition

Look at how similar brands in your industry communicate with their audience. Take note of what works and what doesn’t. Look for any common themes or patterns.

Example: You may look at how other organic food brands communicate with their audience. You notice that some brands use a lot of technical jargon, while others use simple language. You also notice that some brands use a lot of emotive languages, while others use more neutral language. 

How to Research the Competition?

An example of how to research the competition for a fictional online clothing store:

Brand Name: StyleFrenzy
Research the competition
  • Identify direct and indirect competitors: Identify other online clothing stores that sell similar products and target a similar audience.
  • Analyze their strengths and weaknesses: Look at their pricing, product offerings, website design, marketing strategies, and customer reviews to understand what they’re doing well and where they could improve.

Example: StyleFrenzy is an online clothing store that sells trendy and affordable clothing. To research the competition, we would identify other online clothing stores that sell similar products and target a similar audience. We would then analyze their strengths and weaknesses by looking at their pricing, product offerings, website design, marketing strategies, and customer reviews.

We might find that one competitor has a wide selection of products but high prices, while another competitor has lower prices but a limited selection. We might also find that one competitor has a strong social media presence, while another competitor has a more user-friendly website. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors, we can make informed decisions about how to differentiate ourselves and better serve our target audience.


Step 3: Define your audience

Understand your target audience. Who are they? What do they care about? How do they communicate? What kind of language do they use?

Example: The target audience for the organic food brand may be health-conscious individuals between the ages of 25 and 45, who care about where their food comes from and are willing to pay a premium for organic products.

How to Define a Brand’s Audience?

An example of how to define a brand’s audience for a fictional online education platform:

Brand Name: LearnEase
Define the brand’s audience
  • Demographics:
    • Age: 25-40
    • Gender: Both male and female
    • Education level: College graduates or professionals looking to improve their skills.
    • Occupation: Professionals looking to improve their skills.
    • Income: Middle to high-income earners
  • Psychographics:
    • Interests: Lifelong learning, professional development, and self-improvement.
    • Values: Professional growth and development, career advancement, and self-improvement.
    • Lifestyle: Busy professionals who are looking for flexible and convenient ways to improve their skills.

Example: LearnEase is an online education platform that caters to busy professionals between the ages of 25 and 40, who are looking to improve their skills and advance their careers. Our target audience includes college graduates and professionals of all genders who are middle to high-income earners, who are interested in lifelong learning, professional development, and self-improvement. They value professional growth and development and they are looking for flexible and convenient ways to improve their skills.


Step 4: Create a tone of voice guide

Write a document that outlines the brand’s tone of voice. This guide should include elements such as language choice, sentence structure, level of formality, and examples of how to apply the tone of voice. Make sure it’s easy to understand and share with others.

Example: The tone of voice guide for the organic food brand may include language choices such as “organic,” “natural,” “sustainable,” and “non-GMO.” Sentence structure may include short, simple sentences, with an emphasis on transparency and authenticity. The level of formality may be conversational and friendly, with examples of how to apply the tone of voice in different contexts, such as social media posts, website content, and customer service interactions. 

The Tone of Voice Guide Example

An example of a tone of voice guide for a fictional organic food brand:

Brand Name: GreenLeaf
Personality:

GreenLeaf is an organic food brand that is passionate about health, sustainability, and transparency. We want to be perceived as a trusted source of healthy, natural, and environmentally friendly food options.

Audience:

Our target audience is health-conscious individuals between the ages of 25 and 45, who care about where their food comes from and are willing to pay a premium for organic products.

The Tone of Voice:
  • Language: Use words like “organic,” “natural,” “sustainable,” and “non-GMO.”
  • Sentence Structure: Keep sentences short and simple, and avoid technical jargon. Emphasize transparency and authenticity.
  • Formality: Use a conversational and friendly tone.
Examples of Implementation:
  • Social Media Posts: “We believe that food should be healthy, natural, and sustainable. That’s why all of our products are organic and non-GMO. #organicfood #sustainability”
  • Website Content: “At GreenLeaf, we’re committed to providing you with the freshest, healthiest, and most sustainable organic food options. From our farm to your table, we’re dedicated to transparency and authenticity every step of the way.”
  • Customer Service Interactions: “Hi there! Thanks for reaching out to GreenLeaf. We’re passionate about providing healthy and sustainable food options, so if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. We’re here to help.”

Step 5: Test your tone

Try out different language choices and sentence structures with a small group of people. Ask them how they respond to different tones. Use their feedback to refine the tone of voice guide.

Example: You may test different language choices and sentence structures with a small group of people from your target audience. Ask them how they respond to different tones, and use their feedback to refine the tone of voice guide.

How to Test the Tone?

An example of how to test the tone for a fictional skincare brand:

Brand Name: GloGlow
Test the tone
  • Create sample messaging: Write several different versions of messaging that are representative of the brand’s tone of voice.
  • Test the messaging: Share the sample messaging with a focus group or survey participants who fit the brand’s target audience to gather feedback on how well the messaging resonates with them.

Example: GloGlow is a skincare brand that wants to be perceived as approachable, friendly, and knowledgeable. To test the tone, we would create sample messaging that is representative of the brand’s tone of voice. We would then share the sample messaging with a focus group or survey participants who fit the brand’s target audience to gather feedback on how well the messaging resonates with them.

We might test the following two versions of messaging:

Sample messaging 1: “Looking for a skincare routine that will give you a radiant glow? Look no further than GloGlow! Our natural, non-toxic formulas are designed to nourish and protect your skin, leaving you with a healthy, radiant complexion.”

Sample messaging 2: “Get the perfect skin with GloGlow. Our premium skincare products are carefully curated to give you the perfect skin you’ve always wanted. Get your hands on our products now and start seeing a difference in your skin”

By testing the messaging with a focus group or survey participants, we can gather feedback on which version of messaging resonates better with the target audience and make adjustments accordingly.

This is just an example and it’s not a real brand.


Step 6: Implement the tone of voice

Once you have a clear and consistent tone of voice, it’s time to implement it across all forms of communication. This includes website content, social media posts, advertising, and customer service interactions. Make sure that everyone on your team is aware of the tone of voice guide and understands how to use it.

Example: You may ensure that all website content, social media posts, advertising, and customer service interactions align with the tone of voice guide. 

How to Implement the Tone of Voice?

An example of how to implement the tone of voice for a fictional pet food brand:

Brand Name: PetDelight
Implement the tone of voice
  • Create a tone of voice guide: Document the brand’s tone of voice, including the brand’s personality, values, mission, target audience, and messaging guidelines.
  • Train the team: Share the tone of voice guide with all team members and provide training on how to effectively communicate in the brand’s tone of voice across all channels, such as website, social media, email, and customer service interactions.
  • Consistency is key: Make sure that all communications are consistent with the brand’s tone of voice and messaging guidelines, across all channels and by all team members.

Example: PetDelight is a premium pet food brand that wants to be perceived as caring, passionate and trustworthy. To implement the tone of voice, we would create a tone of voice guide that documents the brand’s tone of voice, including the brand’s personality, values, mission, target audience, and messaging guidelines.

We would then share the tone of voice guide with all team members and provide training on how to effectively communicate in the brand’s tone of voice across all channels, such as website, social media, email, and customer service interactions. This would include things like using a friendly and approachable tone when interacting with customers, using language that emphasizes the brand’s commitment to high-quality ingredients and nutritional value, and consistently using the same language and messaging across all channels.

We would also ensure consistency in the tone of voice by having regular check-ins, to make sure that all communications are consistent with the brand’s tone of voice and messaging guidelines, across all channels and by all team members.

This is just an example and it’s not a real brand.


Step 7: Review and adjust

As time goes on, it’s important to regularly review and adjust the tone of voice as needed. Make sure it stays aligned with the brand’s overall personality and messaging and that it remains consistent across all forms of communication.

Example: You may regularly review and adjust the tone of voice as needed, to make sure it stays aligned with the brand’s overall personality and messaging, and that it remains consistent across all forms of communication.

How to review and adjust a tone of voice guide for a brand:

  1. Set a regular review schedule: Establish a schedule for regularly reviewing the tone of voice guides, such as every quarter or every six months. This will ensure that the guide stays current and relevant.
  2. Gather feedback: Collect feedback from internal teams and external stakeholders, such as customers, partners, and industry experts. This can be done through surveys, interviews, or focus groups.
  3. Analyze the data: Analyze the feedback data to identify any common themes or areas that need improvement.
  4. Update the guide: Based on the feedback and analysis, make updates to the guide as needed. This may include revising the language, adding new guidelines, or updating the brand’s personality and audience segments.
  5. Communicate the changes: Communicate the changes to the internal teams and any external stakeholders who were involved in the review process.
  6. Train the team: Provide training to the internal team to ensure they understand the changes and are able to implement them effectively.

Step 8: Train your team

Make sure your team is aware of the tone of voice guide and understands how to use it consistently across all forms of communication. Provide training and resources to help them implement the tone of voice in their work.

Example: You may share the tone of voice guide with your team and provide training and resources to help them consistently implement the tone of voice in their work.

How to Help the Team to Stick to the Tone of Voice Guide?

An example of how to train the team to stick to the style guide for a fictional coffee brand:

Brand Name: BeanBrew
Train the team to stick to the style guide
  • Share the style guide: Share the brand’s style guide with all team members, including guidelines for the tone of voice, messaging, and visual elements.
  • Provide training: Provide training on how to effectively use the brand’s style guide across all channels, such as website, social media, email, and customer service interactions.
  • Monitor and adjust: Regularly monitor communications across all channels to ensure consistency with the brand’s style guide, and make adjustments as necessary.

Example: BeanBrew is a premium coffee brand that wants to be perceived as sophisticated, authentic, and passionate. To train the team to stick to the style guide, we would share the brand’s style guide with all team members, including guidelines for the tone of voice, messaging, and visual elements. This guide would include things like the brand’s mission and values, target audience, tone of voice, messaging guidelines, and guidelines for visual elements such as imagery and design.

We would then provide training on how to effectively use the brand’s style guide across all channels, such as website, social media, email, and customer service interactions. This training would include examples of how to use the brand’s tone of voice and messaging in different contexts, as well as guidelines for using visual elements such as imagery and design.

We would also regularly monitor communications across all channels to ensure consistency with the brand’s style guide and make adjustments as necessary. For example, if we noticed that social media posts were not using the brand’s tone of voice consistently, we would provide additional training and resources to help team members better understand and adhere to the brand’s style guide.

In addition, we would also have a designated team member or team responsible for monitoring and enforcing the brand’s style guide, and making sure that everyone is aware of the importance of adhering to the guide and the consequences of not doing so.

For example, if we noticed that customer service interactions were not using the brand’s tone of voice consistently, we would provide additional training and resources to the customer service team and make sure that everyone is aware of the importance of adhering to the guide and the consequences of not doing so.

Overall, training the team to stick to the style guide is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring, adjustments, and reinforcement to ensure consistency and adherence to the brand’s guidelines.


In the End

The tone of voice design is an important step in building trust and connection with your brand’s audience. By following these steps and creating a unique and recognizable voice for your brand, you can create a consistent and effective style of communication that resonates with your audience. Remember to regularly review and adjust the tone of voice to keep it aligned with the brand’s overall personality and messaging.


List of Tools That Will Help in “Tone of Voice Design” Activities 

A list of tools that can be helpful in various activities related to the tone of voice design:

  • Surveys:
    • SurveyMonkey – Online survey tool for creating and distributing surveys.
    • Google Forms – Simple online survey tool.
    • Typeform – Online survey tool with customizable templates.
  • Social media listening tools:
    • Hootsuite Insights – Social media listening tool for monitoring brand mentions and analyzing social media conversations.
    • Brand24 – Social media listening tool for monitoring brand mentions, sentiment analysis and analytics.
    • Mention – Social media listening tool for monitoring brand mentions, sentiment analysis and analytics.
  • Demographic research tools:
    • Google Analytics – Web analytics service for analyzing website traffic and gathering information about the demographics of a brand’s online audience.
  • Customer data platforms:
    • Segment – Platform for collecting and centralizing customer data across different touchpoints and channels.
  • AI-based tools:
    • Persado – AI-based tool for analyzing large amounts of customer data to gain insights about customer behavior and preferences.
  • Branding and Identity design :
    • Canva – Graphic design platform for creating visual identities and digital assets.
    • Adobe Illustrator – Vector graphics editor for creating visual identities and digital assets.
  • Grammar and style checker:
    • Grammarly – Writing tool for checking grammar, spelling, and style.
    • Hemingway – Writing tool for checking grammar, spelling, and style.
  • Copywriting:
    • Hubspot – Platform for creating, publishing, and analyzing the performance of content.
  • Brand Naming:
    • Namelix – AI-based tool for generating brand names based on keywords.

All of these tools can help you at different stages of the tone of voice design, each of them has a different purpose and different feature set, you can use them as a guide to finding the best tool that fit your brand needs.


The Tone of Voice Design FAQ

What is the Tone of Voice Design?

The tone of Voice Design is the process of creating a consistent and distinct way of speaking for a brand, in order to communicate its values and personality. This can be applied across all written and spoken communication, including advertising, website copy, customer service, and more.

Why is Tone of Voice Design important?

The tone of Voice Design is important because it helps to establish a brand’s unique voice and personality, which in turn can help to differentiate it from competitors and create a strong emotional connection with its audience. A consistent and distinct tone of voice can also help to build trust and credibility with customers.

How is Tone of Voice Design different from Brand Voice?

The tone of Voice Design is a specific aspect of Brand Voice, which refers to the overall way a brand speaks and communicates. The tone of Voice Design focuses on the specific language, tone, and style that a brand uses, while Brand Voice also encompasses other elements such as visual design and messaging.

What are the steps involved in Tone of Voice Design?

The steps involved in Tone of Voice Design include: Defining the brand’s personality, Defining the brand’s audience, Researching the competition, Testing the tone, Implementing the tone of voice, and Training the team to stick to the style guide.

How can I ensure my Tone of Voice Design is consistent across all communication channels?

To ensure consistency, it’s important to create a style guide that outlines the specific language, tone, and style to be used across all communication channels and to train all team members on the guidelines. It’s also important to regularly review and update the guide as needed.

How can AI-based tools be used in Tone of Voice Design?

AI-based tools can be used to generate language and copy, test and optimize the tone of voice, and automate tasks such as ad targeting and budget optimization. These tools can also be used to personalize communication, providing an efficient way to reach the target audience with the right message at the right time.

What's Your Reaction?

Sander B.

Tech enthusiast and avid learner. Passionate about exploring new trends and sharing my knowledge with others. Always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow and improve. Putting the 'pro' in prose 📝 and the 'fun' in puns 🤣 #CopywritingAndComedy

Tagged In:#Microcopy,
svg

What do you think?

Show comments / Leave a comment

Leave a reply

svg