Marta Peral Ribeiro

Marta Peral Ribeiro
– Communication Consultant –

What is your brand’s tone?

We can equate the tone of voice of the brand with the personality of a person: just as an individual is able to stand out among others because of his charisma, capturing their attention, the tone of voice of a brand communicates a certain attitude capable of attracting a certain audience.

Marta Peral Ribeiro
– Communication Consultant –

What is your brand’s tone?

We can equate the tone of voice of the brand with the personality of a person: just as an individual is able to stand out among others because of his charisma, capturing their attention, the tone of voice of a brand communicates a certain attitude capable of attracting a certain audience.

Brand voice as identity

What is the Voice?

It describes the brand’s personality, what it says. It is consistent and can be defined through an adjective, for example: inspiring, assertive, empathetic, irreverent, etc.

What’s the tone?

It adds an emotional intonation to the voice, expressed as speech. It can be, for example:  more corporate, more informal, humorous, traditional, etc.

Why set a tone of voice for the brand?

The way the brand presents itself is as important as the way we show ourselves as individuals.

A person transmits his/her personality through the clothes and accessories he/she wears, the haircut, posture, look, voice, language.

At the same time, the personality of a brand is transmitted through the message that it conveys, its vision, its principles, the language it chooses, the colors, the images,  the videos, the graphics, its interaction in social networks.

For example, a product or service that can be consumed with family or friends can reveal a fun and sociable personality.  The more the tone of voice emphasizes these qualities, the more customers associate it with social environments, friends and recreation.

When the identity is well defined and consistent across the various channels it communicates through, consumers can easily recognize that content belongs to a particular brand, which brings them closer and can influence their purchasing decision.

Types of tones of voice

Depending on the situation, the tone of voice varies. It’s easy to imagine the tone with which a new product is advertised and the tone when responding to a complaint: it certainly won’t be the same.

Looking closer at the types above:

  • Inspiring – encourages the public to overcome themselves, inspiring energy and confidence, referring to an idea or a positive thought.
  • Competent – oriented towards results, it is generally directed to a more executive and more ambitious segment as managers, for example, or a more traditional audience. This tone can be both authoritative and accessible.
  • Empathic – it is light, informal, brief, but assertive in the message (usually informative) and creates proximity to the audience, to whom it transmits valuable content.
  • Irreverent – unconventional, has a message that is “outside the box”. They often draw attention mainly to the words they choose, sometimes puns, and for the most daring images.

How to find the right tone of voice

In theory, it is easy to understand the concept. In practice, it is more complex to determine the tone of a brand’s voice.

There are two important moments to do this: at an early stage there must be an self-examination to define how/who the brand is, to then be able to communicate with the public.

1.  Reflect on brand positioning

Define why

Simon Sinek, known for his motivational lectures on Organizations, defends that first the brand must define why it exists: what is the purpose («profit» is not a valid response), what is the cause in which it believes? That is, how will the brand make a difference in people’s lives?

Develop tone of voice

The tone of voice should be unique to your business.
It is useful to examine how other companies in the same area express themselves, to be able to absorb what matters or, on the contrary, differentiate themselves entirely.
But you don’t have to raise your voice to make yourself known. Just use the right tone, the brand’s own tone of voice.
An interesting question that can help define the brand’s voice is: if the brand were represented by a celebrity, who would it be?

Tailor the brand expression to the persona

Having defined the profile of the persona, it is necessary to adjust the voice tone of the brand:

  • Exclusive / affordable
  • Traditional / contemporary
  • Young / mature
  • Formal / informal
  • Serious / fun
  • Urban / ecological
  • Stable / dynamic

Graphics and language

Passing to the practical component of communication:

  • What will the brand logo be like?
  • What colors will predominate?
  • What is the font on the website?
  • How is the initial greeting in each email?
  • And how’s the farewell?
  • Do you speak in the first person?
  • And the public, will it be treated informally?
  • What terms will definitely NOT be used in communication?

2.  Communicate consistently across channels

Define communication channels

Depending on the persona, the target audience and, of course, the resources and objectives of the company, the channels chosen to communicate may vary.

So it’s important to know where your audience is, what channels they use.

A corporate brand prioritizes email and LinkedIn, while a brand whose target audience is a younger segment it may make more sense to use Instagram and Twitter.

Depending on the purpose of the content, the tone of voice is adjusted. For example, a video post on Instagram, where the visual component is the strong point, the tone of voice should be close and practical, while if it is an article for a blog it may already have a more informative and assertive tone.

However, not forgetting all the campaigns that may take place in a non-digital environment.

Create a brand communication guide

The communication of a company is not made by one person alone. As such, you may want to outline a document that contains the guidelines that guide the entire team so that there is an organization pattern.

That guide will ensure consistency between the various communication channels of the company, allowing consumers to recognize the brand when moving from its website to social networks, when on the street they see the advertising of one of the products or services, or when they open an email.

An evolving personality

menino grita no microfone

The personality of the brand is constantly maturing. After all, behind each brand are people, who are also evolving.

You can therefore decide to adjust your tone of voice, which is a sign that accompanies the changes in the environment around you. But how to do it without losing your identity?

On the one hand, it is necessary to analyze the communication that the company already has, to obtain an overview. On the other hand, it is important to permeate the creative side with these unique aspects.

Here are some starting points:

  • What aspects distinguish the voice from the brand?
  • Is the voice consistent in terms of language both on social networks and on the website?
  • How does the audience interact on the different channels?
  • Which posts have the highest user interaction rate?

The voice of brand representatives

A special ingredient that can be added to the brand’s recipe to differentiate its Voice is the voice of your own executives.

According to Forbes, in 2018, “The reputation of a company’s leadership is directly responsible for 44% of a company’s market value.”

This means, in practice, that the leaders of a company can extrapolate the influence they have on their team to the community, if they use it in the media in a shrewd way. They can take  the brand’s  messages  to another level and, consequently, reposition it in the market.

Examples of voice tones

1. “Matinal” Milk: a manifesto for self-esteem

Always associated with a mostly female audience, the “Matinal” brand has repositioned itself, inspiring each woman to celebrate her individuality.

menina sorri no espelho

The slogan itself  has suffered nuances  over time, betting on progressively affirmative language. It went from the question “If I don’t like myself, who will?” to a more positive tone “If I like myself, who won’t?” which has now become a certainty: “Because I like myself.”

This tone is inspiring and manifests the individual power of each woman, regardless of her beauty, style, age, role or status.

mulher a usar no telemovel

2. BPI and Millennium BCP: adhering to the App

In these two communications the purpose is identical: banks explain how you can create  user account in the App. Even though both present the information concisely, the difference in tone of voice in one case and the other is notorious:

app do banco bpi

app da banca millenium

BPI opts for a more serious tone and the information is  presented  in  text on a sober colour website.   It corresponds to a more traditional and competent tone.

In turn, Millennium BCP bets on a more empathetic tone, with a presentation summarized in steps, through infographics, with bright colors, and stamps it with a  gif at the end that conveys the feeling of task fulfilled (“Done!”). It corresponds to an empathetic, flexible tone.

3. Renova: raising toilet paper to the lifestyle category

Throughout its history, Renova has managed to transform one of the most basic products of our homes, whose purpose has nothing attractive about it, into a utilitarian article with design. How? From an “out of the box” perspective of what is traditional and with a lively voice that even names its toilet paper “the sexiest on the planet”.

A few years ago it repositioned itself internationally, releasing black toilet paper, and has since been recognized across borders:

página web da marca Renova

On Instagram, we recognize the irreverent tone of voice because the brand maintains these qualities, expressed in bright colors, in the “international” element and the fun message:

Feed do Instagram da marca Renova