From the largest multinational business to independent challenger brands, every business has a unique perspective to share.
When we think about Tone of Voice in branding, we almost instinctively think of B2C marketing, translating a brand story to consumers that are awash with products and services to choose from – and B2B marketing shares many important parallels.
Finding and sharpening your brand’s Tone of Voice is a crucial aspect of standing out and building a meaningful connection with prospects and leads, no matter the industry.
Language is powerful, and at PHD Marketing, we understand the science and art of marketing communications. We believe that every business has the potential to shine bright, and by finding and sharpening your company’s tone of voice, your marketing efforts remain consistent, build up important brand recognition, and better connect with market prospects.
Looking to find or refine your brand voice? Get in touch with the PHD Marketing team today to get started.
What do we mean by Tone of Voice?
Before we embark on the journey of perfecting your brand’s tone of voice, it’s essential to understand what it entails.
Tone of Voice is not about what you say; it’s about how you say it.
In terms of your external marketing communications, it encompasses the words you choose, the rhythm of your messaging, and the overall personality and style of your brand. And, it runs the full gamut, from brochures and literature, through to social media messaging, email marketing, graphics and public relations. Truly great brand voices are clear everywhere, even in direct letters to customers.
The ‘voice’ aspect represents the consistent personality of your brand. If your business was a person, what kind of person would they be? Would they primarily be sage and wise? Authoritative? Compassionate? Bold? The ‘tone’ aspect is the contextual variation that adapts to different channels, situations, and audiences, how your brand’s voice would apply in a given scenario.
As valuable as any other marketing asset, Tone of Voice forms part of brand guidelines, which all businesses should have. In turn, this ensures that all communications are consistent and recognisable, and that the business can speak in one voice across all written media and copy.
Decoding your brand identity with archetypes
When it comes to discovering who your brand ‘is’ and exploring tone of voice, there are numerous ways to go about it. At PHD Marketing, we particularly like delving into brand archetypes with our clients to discover their preferred tone and style.
Are you a creator, a magician or an outlaw? Psychiatrist Carl Jung outlined 12 human archetypes that we all innately understand because they’re inherent in the human subconscious. These archetypes can guide symbology, values and behaviours, to make up a persona. They’re commonly used in character creation within fiction because we instantly know these traits.
However, these can be applied to brands as easily as they can to people and characters.
Recurring examples found across the B2B landscape include ‘The Hero’, ‘The Ruler’ and ‘The Sage’, but brands can easily fall into any of the 12 categories, depending on what they do and how they do it. Then, naturally, the archetype can shape and mold how the business ‘speaks’ through marketing communications, to better connect with its goals and aspirations.
Why not delve into the psyche of your brand with PHD Marketing? Our team can help you crack the communications code, and delivery sharper on-brand messaging, every time.
Our tips for shaping your brand Tone of Voice
Explore the character of your business
Begin by delving into the core of your brand. Through understanding and recognising its purpose and character, and the vision of the business, you begin to shape its voice. Other key areas can shape this too, including the history of the business and its culture.
For larger businesses where multiple individuals contribute to the content strategy, a brand dictionary or glossary can ensure language consistency, as well as streamlining proofreading and internal approval cycles.
Aim for specificity
One of the biggest pitfalls marketing teams find when developing a brand voice is ambiguity. If the descriptors are vague, they become open to interpretation.
When defining who your brand is and how it communicates, avoid the more general terms such as knowledgeable, warm, professional or friendly. While it may be true, it doesn’t offer clues as to how the company ‘speaks’.
Instead, try to define it with more detailed descriptors, such as assertive, sincere, visionary, daring or purposeful.
While caution has its place, don’t be afraid to infuse your brand with a more distinctive tone of voice. This is particularly effective in more crowded markets, where standing out is harder amid the wallpaper of noise. However, always keep it true to your brand values and what makes your business unique.
Trust the experts!
Nailing down your brand voice and distilling it into language that connects with the audience can be a difficult ask, particular for internal marketing teams that are also tasked with rolling out content.
A full-service marketing partner like PHD Marketing can be a real lifesaver – in fact, many of our clients simply see us as an extension of their own teams. We thrive on effective communications, and part of that is to distil a brand, dig to its core and pull that out into everything that reaches customer eyes.
Whether you’re looking to get a tighter grip of your brand voice or develop a full-scale multi-level marketing strategy, PHD is your go-to partner throughout the packaging, printing, life sciences and technology industries.
So, why does it matter so much?
In B2B industries, decisions often involve substantial investments and long-term partnerships, on a level that B2C transactions rarely do. Trust is paramount.
A sharp and well-crafted tone of voice contributes to the perception of authenticity and expertise, instilling confidence in your audience. A brand that communicates with clarity, confidence and consistency through its tone establishes itself as a reliable authority within the industry, fostering valuable trust among potential clients.
B2B is also distinct in how the decision-making process often requires consensus among multiple stakeholders, rather than one individual. A clear Tone of Voice can help to simplify complex information in a way that resonates with the target audience. In turn, this can help to make information more accessible and digestible for diverse audiences. Whether it’s communicating technical details or outlining product benefits, a cohesive and engaging tone ensures that your message resonates with decision-makers across various organisational levels.
There are further benefits in standing out, which is essential with competitors vying for attention. A distinctive tone of voice acts as a beacon or lighthouse, helping your brand stand out. By infusing your brand’s personality and character into communications, you create a memorable brand identity that lingers in the mind, becoming part of the consideration set.
Finally, the adage says that ‘people buy from people’, and that’s consistently found to be true. B2B success is not just about securing orders, it’s about nurturing enduring relationships. A clear and recognisable Tone of Voice resonates with clients on a human level. This emotional connection forms the foundation for lasting partnerships, encouraging repeat business and referrals.
Done right, your brand’s voice becomes a thread that weaves through every interaction, reinforcing the sense of familiarity and reliability that underpins enduring B2B relationships. It’s not just a stylistic choice, it’s a strategic asset. Invest time and effort in getting it right, and you pave the way for more meaningful connections with customers and stand apart in a complex B2B landscape.
Luckily, you never have to go it alone – check in with the team at PHD Marketing. Whether you’re a startup trying to shape your brand identity, or an established business looking to elevate your messaging, our experienced team can make it happen.
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