Find your Brands' Tone of Voice

Find your Brands' Tone of Voice
4 minutes read. May 13th, 2019.

Key Factors

Tone of voice is a very situational concept. There will doubtless be circumstances that require your brand to maintain a serious tone, such as when dealing with complaints, for example. On the other hand, interactions on social media, for instance, might allow you a little leeway to dispense with the formalities and take on a more friendly, conversational tone. Finally, target audience is just as relevant – if you’re looking to address people of a specific age or gender, you must choose your words wisely to avoid alienating your chosen demographic.

Understanding Your Brand

To begin, it’s worth noting that a brand may consist of one or more sub-brands, each of which may employ a different corporate tone (which is perfectly okay!). The trick is to identify a tone of voice which perfectly suits the traits of each individual brand.

When developing a tone of voice, the aim is to create a verbal embodiment of your brand’s personality. Look back at any existing brand material (across all media) and ask yourself: is your chosen method of written communication representative of the values your brand holds? If not, it’s time to assess where things are going wrong.

If you’re struggling to identify the issue, try thinking about the characteristics of your own personality (and perhaps your friends or family too) – you might notice how certain individuals use specific turns of phrase or slang words, for example. Similarly, you may notice how certain individuals favour detailed responses over getting straight to the heart of the matter.

You can apply the same kind of analysis to your brand’s tone of voice by visualising your brand as a person and seeing if you can spot any inconsistencies – what kind of personality traits does your brand possess? Is it humorous and conversational, or does it lean towards a more professional, serious tone? Write down as many words as you can think of that correspond to the characteristics of your brand. Then take a look at your competitors and repeat the characterisation process – this is a sure-fire way to identify how you can set your brand apart from your rivals.

Narrowing Things Down

By now, it’s likely that you’re staring at a long list of adjectives. By process of elimination, try narrowing your selection down to no more than five qualities which perfectly describe the characteristics of your brand. Next, assess whether applying these characteristics to your brand’s tone of voice would result in things being interpreted in way that you want. Even with the best of intentions, some people may take things the wrong way – be decisive and positive in your choices but be aware of creating misunderstanding.

It’s also worth playing around with grammatical options. If you’re opting for a more informal route, for example, why not see if apostrophised words align more with your brand’s tone of communication? Stay within the realms of good taste, though – text-speak seldom hits the spot nowadays.


Once you’ve started to establish the right tone of voice for your brand, you need to ensure that your brand guidelines detail everything in full (check out our previous blog post on brand guidelines here). It’s good to be specific – use relevant examples of dos and don’ts so that people know exactly how your brand will communicate and engage with the world.

With your brand’s newfound tone of voice out there in the public domain, make sure you continue to monitor things over time. Every aspect of your brand should be subject to change if things aren’t quite clicking, and tone of voice is no exception. Keep an eye on what customers are saying about your brand and don’t be afraid to adjust things if necessary.


The phrase “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” exists for a reason. In terms of tone of voice, the aim isn’t necessarily to get people to remember the words you use, but rather to remember the impression that your brand gave them. Bear that in mind and your brand will be well on your way to establishing a tone of voice that’s good as its word.

Interested in finding your brand’s voice? Get in touch today.

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Find your Brands' Tone of Voice

Paul Hough

Creative Director

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