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Could clients and prospects identify your brand if your logo doesn’t appear in your content? Would people viewing your posts across different channels know they came from the same company? These are important questions that only your brand’s tone of voice can answer. If you’re having trouble determining it, keep reading to learn more about the topic or contact a marketing agency to lend you a hand.


What Is Tone of Voice? 


The tone of voice is the text and imagery companies use to communicate and connect with their audiences. It helps businesses introduce their values and differentiate themselves from competitive brands. For example, people worldwide can instantly recognise Old Spice because of the humorous tone of voice in their farcical but memorable ads.


Why Is Tone of Voice Important?


The images and texts you use define how clients view your company. This is crucial as studies show that 88% of people are inclined to give their business to trustworthy brands. Think about creating a personality for your company. As yourself – how should your brand speak to others? What messages should you communicate with existing and potential clients? The right tone of voice will help you to:


  • Emulate face-to-face communication
  • Boost your brand’s identity, popularity, and authority
  • Cut through your competition

woman holding a sign

Tone of Voice vs Brand Voice


The brand voice represents a company’s unique perspective and the values it stands for. Simply said, it’s your brand’s overall character. The tone of voice, on the other hand, is about how your company communicates with its audience. It can include word choice, emotional tone, and communication style. It can also change depending on the situation and objectives.


At our marketing agency, we use Volvo to demonstrate the difference. Their brand voice is all about safety. It’s among the first words you see when you visit their website. Their tone of voice, however, focuses on how safety is an absolute priority for their company. It’s the central point in most of their marketing campaigns. 


Volvo does an excellent job of highlighting its main values while making people understand that their safety comes first. They know their mission statement and how to communicate it to their audience.


How to Define Your Brand’s Tone of Voice?


Now that we’ve covered the basics. We’ll show you how you can find your tone of voice.


Step 1: Identify Your Core Values


Reflect on what makes your company unique. What your brand stands for. Start defining your core values by creating a mission statement and message architecture. Here’s how to do it:

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Mission Statement


Draft a brief brand mission statement. Show clients and prospects who you are, what your company does to attain its goals, and what you care about. Strong mission statements answer the following questions:


  • Who’s your target audience?
  • What are your company objectives?
  • How do you plan to achieve your goals?
  • What do you want your brand to be recognised for?


Write down the answer to these questions and use the results to develop an understandable but impactful mission statement. Once it’s ready, share it on your website and social media profiles so your employees and clients can read it.


Message Architecture


Messaging architecture will align your brand’s overall communication and values across your copywriters, social media experts, and content creators. To create your own, list adjectives (between 50 and 100) that best describe your industry and sort them as follows:


  • Who you are
  • Who would you like to be
  • Who you are not


After sorting the adjectives, focus on the words in the “who would you like to be” category. Group them into sub-categories and organise them in order of priority. Finally, update your content strategy with the words you’ve filtered out for your messaging architecture.


Step 2: Identify Your Brand’s Tone of Voice


Start defining your tone of voice by using adjectives that best describe your desired tone. You can facilitate the process by using Nielsen Norman Group’s four dimensions of tone of voice. It will allow you to determine where your company  falls in each category:

woman listening

Formal vs Casual 


Using a formal tone can help your brand appear more professional and authoritative, but it can also be impersonal. 


Casual language is known to create a sense of personality and friendliness. However, when the tone is too casual, it can send the wrong message and make you seem inexperienced.


Funny vs Serious


When choosing between funny and serious, you shouldn’t ignore that a funny tone won’t fit all businesses. Furthermore, humour shouldn’t get in the way of communicating with clients and prospects. 


Respectful vs Irreverent


Being respectful is excellent. But overdoing it by constantly pandering to clients may come across as if you’re not genuine. 


Opting for an irreverent tone will make your company look confident and fun. But it would be best to be extra careful not to use intimidating or offensive language.


Enthusiastic vs Matter-of-Fact


An enthusiastic tone is perceived as helpful and friendly, but it can push away your audience when used at inappropriate times. 


Matter-of-fact language gives a feeling of simplicity and honesty. But remember that you may appear to lack personality when executed poorly.


Step 3: Research Your Audience


Clients expect brands to understand their needs. One way to get to know your audience is to learn what social media platforms they use and how they interact with each other. 


The fastest way to find out is to go directly to the source, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. But the gathered information may not give the complete picture.


For more detailed research, you should start with a Google search. Use the “site search” method to find results only from sources that mention your company. You can search on multiple sites by typing “OR” between them. Here’s how the command should look:


[company/brand name] site:[website name].[website domain]


Example: Nike OR OR

man doing research

Analyse the results and take notes. Focus on the positive and negative things people are saying. Identify any established or emerging trends regarding your brand. You can use the collected information to tweak the overall tone of voice. If you’re a startup and don’t get a lot of results, you can perform a search of your competitors and see what they’re doing right or wrong.


Join relevant social media groups to learn how your audience communicates with one another. Facebook groups, especially, can be a treasure trove of information. Here are the things to turn extra attention to when analysing your clients’ behaviour on social media:


  • How do they speak (in full sentences or casually)?
  • Do they use emojis?
  • What kind of slang do they use?
  • What do they like and dislike?
  • What is their generation?
  • Do they speak to companies directly?


Understanding and mirroring your audience’s communication can help you create relatable and engaging content that may increase sales and popularity.


Step 4: Deploy Tone of Voice Guidelines


Set clear brand guidelines to deploy your tone of voice successfully. Create a “tone of voice” chapter in your company’s brand book. Include correct and incorrect examples to show employees and content creators what to do and avoid.

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Review the guidelines periodically and make the necessary alterations to match the changes in your target audience. It’s pivotal to always be prevalent with your brand’s evolution and changing times.


Step 5: Partner With a Marketing Agency


Finding the right tone of voice can be challenging, especially for startups. Collaborating with a reputable marketing agency can facilitate the process. It can help you minimise risk while making certain important decisions.

People at a meeting at a marketing agency

Access to professionals who can analyse your communication style will allow you to learn whether your tone of voice is trendy or old-fashioned. It will enable you to make the necessary adjustments before talking directly to your audience. 


In modern-day marketing and business landscapes, the tone of voice is an essential tool companies must pay attention to. At D&D Marketing, we would be honoured to help you find your voice to forge a long-lasting relationship with your clients.