Here at Bounce, we know good design, great colour combinations and fonts that work in harmony with it all.
But when we create a brand identity for a client, we also help them with their ‘tone of voice’. Tone of voice describes how the character of your business comes through in your words. It’s not about what you say, but rather the way that you say it and the impression it makes on your customers. The tone should reflect the visual components of the brand that we’ve created. For example, a conservative professional services firm would not appreciate edgy design with graffiti-style graphics and a cheeky tone of voice.
To ensure the visual elements match the words our clients use, we outline the elements of tone of voice in our brand identity package where we cover:
How we speak – is it confidently, playfully or authoritatively?
How we look – would it be affordable, high-end, cutting-edge and established.
How we make our customers feel – are they inspired, assured, knowledgeable or excited?
End goal – could it be to change perceptions, gain more customers or expand your business.
Once you’ve established some of the elements above, you may need to delve further into the meanings of your responses.
For example, you may have selected ‘fun’ but does that mean ‘silly’? Or you could’ve come up with ‘confident’ but you don’t want that to be interpreted as ‘cocky’. You may also want to test your tone of voice on your ideal customer to ensure that the tone and messaging is understood. Once our clients are sure that the visual brand matches the tone of voice, we encourage them to go a bit deeper to discover the words and phrases that best match their brand.
Many of our clients use the services of a copywriter to further develop their tone of voice as well as an editorial style guide, which will cover more of the words and phrases your business uses.
For example, would your business use the word, ‘staff’, ‘employee’ or ‘team member’? Do you have a team of ‘advisers’ or ‘advisors’?
Three great copywriting tips that always stick in our minds are:
- Use active voice and avoid passive voice. Active voice will make your business sound like it’s on the front foot and moving forward. For example, “Our CEO John Smith proudly opened the new store today” sounds more active than “The new store was opened by our CEO John Smith today.”
- Avoid slang and jargon and write in plain English. It’s always important to remember that not everyone understands your industry. We talk DPI, lo-res and Vector all the time in the office but we ensure we explain these terms to non-designers.
- Aim to use positive language where possible. If a valued team member were to resign, talk about the positive contribution the person made rather than how sad you are that your business lost them.
Does your business need to work on its tone of voice?