Are you talking to me?

How to choose the right tone of voice and why it’s so important.

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In almost every industry, the market is saturated to the point of bursting. To be the loudest voice in a crowd is no longer enough. You need to be the most refined, articulate and genuine. Whether you’re a start-up or you’re embarking on a rebrand (something we know plenty about!), choosing a suitable tone of voice is likely to play a huge part in your success.

Albert Mehrabian, an Armenian scholar famed for his work on communication, stated that body language was the most important element of communication, followed by the tone of voice. Since body language is redundant in digital marketing, it places the spotlight firmly on how you talk to your audience. Here are some things to consider to make sure you nail it.

Know your audience

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As the old adage goes, it’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time. It’s no secret that targeted marketing is among the most effective methods of attracting customers or clients. Companies have been tailoring their products to suit their demographic from day one. But what many businesses fail to do is talk to their audience in their own language. Don’t try to please all of the people, start by catering to the ones who are most likely to engage with your brand.

Dove has been doing this well for some time. It’s identified not just women as its key demographic, but women passionate about empowerment and body positivity. The company’s much-praised ‘Show Us’ campaign uses powerful, and inclusive language like ‘show us more beautiful women who look like me’ to accompany images of people with all kinds of skin colors, tones and types. The message resonates and helps it build a strong relationship with its customers.

Stand out

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The goal for any business should be to leave a lasting impression on its customers. But if you’re just interacting with them in the same way as your competitors then you’re getting lost in the crowd. Embracing a distinct tone of voice is one really easy way to differentiate yourself from your industry peers. Try something a little different – people always remember the unusual. 

It’s an approach taken by UK bank, Monzo. Most banks tend to position themselves as ultra-professional, using corporate language and a straight-edged tone to convey their reliability. Monzo, while still coming across as professional and trustworthy, has adopted a more friendly and approachable tone. Its customer-friendly app speaks to you in everyday language, using emojis to appeal to a younger demographic and essentially freshen up the mundane yet important world of banking.

Be authentic

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Just like most of us can detect when a person is being disingenuous, we can tell when a company is too. And just like in our personal relationships, it can breed distrust, suspicion, and disdain. This isn’t the 1950s – the modern consumer isn’t impressed by claims of being the biggest and best. These days, we prefer transparency, integrity, and self-awareness.

When KFC ran out of chicken in early 2018, the fast-food giant offered a refreshing and personable response. It bought full-page ads in popular UK newspapers, rearranged its letters to ‘FCK’ and released a candid and honest statement. The first line read, ‘A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal.’ demonstrating an ability to make light of a situation that behind closed doors was almost certainly causing panic. The advert, created by Mother London, went down well with the public and KFC’s reputation remains intact. 

The moral of the story? Always try to speak to your audience the way you’d like to be spoken to. Your products or services may always be the most important factor in your success, but the way you communicate will always leave a lasting impression – and it’s this that forges true, long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Let’s talk branding

Here at Point 6, we know a thing or two about branding. No matter what industry you’re in, we’d love to help you make an impact. Get in touch!

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