Brand Voice and Brand Tone – What is it good for?
In today’s digital realm, the internet is flooded with content. And, all that content is accompanied by many, many choices for consumers to filter through. With all that content and decision-making comes the responsibility for marketers to develop content that attracts their target audience and piques the interest of consumers long enough for them to make the decision to pick their brand over the competition.
So how do we accomplish this goal? How do marketers get their brand to stand apart and be a consumer’s first choice? The answer is simple; Brand voice and brand tone.
Marketers must develop a brand voice and brand tone that is memorable and unique. These characteristics should be distinctive to the brand’s personality and industry yet still be differentiating from the brand competitors. But what is brand voice and brand tone?
Brand Voice and Brand Tone
According to Social Sprout, brand voice is “the distinct personality a brand takes on in its communications.” In other words, brand voice is the persona that a brand portrays when it communicates with its customers and the style in which the brand communicates. A brand’s voice is developed by upholding the vision, mission, and values of a brand while understanding the expectations of the audience on the receiving end of the content.
A brand’s tone describes how a brand communicates with an audience and is the manner in which the communication influences how the audience perceives the message. A brand’s tone fluctuates from message to message and adjusts to meet the appropriate emotional inflection of the brand’s message or content.
A brand’s voice differs from a brand’s tone in that it describes the personality of the brand/company. The brand’s voice is always the same and stays consistent. Whereas the brand’s tone must be everchanging to meet the needs and context of a message. A brand’s tone adjusts to convey a message in a certain context. Think in terms of current events; there are occasions when it is appropriate for a brand to be sarcastic and witty, and there are times when it is incredibly inappropriate. Brand tone is just like the saying, “It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” And while a brand is an entity, it is often thought of as a person, and like a person, brands have personality. That’s why a brand needs to adjust its tone in certain situations just as a person would.
As consumers, we enjoy supporting and interacting with brands that make us laugh or stand for something we agree with. Take the Nike brand, for example.
Nike – Brand Voice and Brand Tone
The Nike brand is known for more than its “swoosh” logo, and it’s “Just Do It” slogan. They are known for their unique tone of voice. Nike is well-known for their campaigns that share what they believe in and why they believe in it. The brand voice portrays inspiration, positivity, and powerful messages that motivate and encourage even non-athletes to “Just do it.” Nike’s tactic is to inspire its audience. While, of course, they are seeking to encourage consumers to purchase their products, their main tactic is to get consumers to get up and strive for success when it comes to athletics by formulating and shaping their brand voice to portray an inspirational personality.
Nike built their competitive and inspirational brand voice from its story origin. They use a truly unique method that promotes self-reflection in their campaigns rather than focusing entirely on the product they are trying to promote; this is their brand voice.
A key relationship between Nike and its brand voice is the assumption that promoting inspiration, determination, courage, winning, defeat, and resilience leads to the creation of a strong community or athletes. Nike prides itself on its emotional branding. Their common theme of encouraging athletes and non-athletes to strive for athletic success and determination defines Nike’s brand voice, but what defines Nike’s brand tone?
Nike has done well in recent months with its tone of voice. Take the COVID Pandemic crisis, for example. Back in March, at the start of social distancing, Nike created a campaign in response to support the social distancing efforts that were taking place. The campaign featured many individuals working out inside their homes instead of outside; the ad even featured famous basketball legend, LeBron James. Not only did the brand use their tone of voice to be sympathetic and supportive of uniting all individuals as a whole to work together to fight the pandemic, but they reinforced their brand voice and their overall message. The brand’s tone was used to encourage their audience to take action and socially distance.
Time to find your voice and tone!
Developing an affluent brand voice coincides with the brand tone you assert towards your consumers. In order to have a successful brand voice, it is essential to establish a brand tone that is relevant to both your target audience and the current events occurring during the time of your content distribution. Having a brand voice and brand tone that overlap with your brand’s mission, vision, values, and those of your target audience will build a vigorous community who enjoy the personalized and honest experience they encounter when they interact with your brand. The best way to connect with your audience is by being consistent and flexible with your content while continually evaluating the market and adjusting your brand’s voice and tone accordingly to meet the needs of your consumers.