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Don't speak to me in that tone of voice! A copywriting guide.

Getting your customers to subconsciously relate to your brand and engage can be tricky without a killer tone of voice. We all know a successful one when we hear it, but how do you find the right one for you? Here are top tips for discovering what your own brand’s tone of voice should be from the Oxygen copywriting agency in Devon.

  1. Encapsulate the essence of your brand in your tone of voice.

Your tone of voice doesn’t have to be absolutely unique. But it does have to be authentic. It’s no good pretending to be someone you’re not. Customers will sense the incongruence and it will prevent them forming a proper relationship with your brand. That’s why it’s no good coveting another brand’s tone of voice however successful it’s made them any more than it is trying to look like the most popular person in school.

  1. Find out who you are.

Think about your values and your target market. This is where serious brainstorming with your team and market research is invaluable. How has your tone of voice worked in the past? What has your target audience liked about it or hated? It can help to draw a very specific picture of your typical client or customer. How old are they? Where do they live? What do they wear? What gadgets do they own? What does your brand mean to them? Try to come up with a word that encapsulates the personality of your brand. For Apple it’s ‘innovative’. For Disney it’s ‘magical’.

  1. Translate your brand personality into a specific tone of voice.

Your brand personality will dictate the kind of voice you should be aiming for. If your brand were a person, who would they be? How do they express themselves? Are they chatty? Formal? Detached? Lively? Wacky?

  1. Break your tone of voice down into specific language.

Are there some words your brand ‘voice’ would never use? It’s useful to have a list of these. Will sentences be long and flowing or short and lively? Will you use contractions such as ‘we’re’ and ‘it’s’? Think about how your brand voice sounds out loud. Will there be lots of staccato sounds, or will it be smooth and mellow?

  1. Keep your tone of voice consistent without being insensitive.

It’s no good having a great tone of voice which you drop in your employee or corporate literature. It will just make you sound fake, and you’ll miss an opportunity for your team and your suppliers to understand and communicate your brand more widely. So your brand voice should carry through all your more ‘backstage’ messaging, even though your message itself may be more serious and business-like. On the other hand, there will be times when the mood of your voice will need to change. Customers won’t appreciate your wacky tone of voice on your FAQ page, or for the finer details of terms and conditions. Remember that everyone moderates the way they speak, depending on the emotional state of the person they’re addressing and the nature of what they’re speaking about. Let your brand tone of voice shift slightly to suit the occasion too.

If you need help coming up with your own distinctive tone of voice, give Oxygen’s copywriting agency team a call on 0845 2606 255.


Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.

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