in other words

Tone of voice: why consistency is key to better copywriting

Coralie Fernando - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Consistency… Yawn.

Yes, marketeers, comms specialists and brand managers have harped on about it for years, dashing the dreams of creatives everywhere in the wake of corporate synonymity.

So why does it matter? What’s the big deal, specifically when it comes to language? Do clients really notice if you’ve happened to use a comma in the place of a hyphen? Will they care if you use the word ‘use’ rather than ‘employ’? Possibly not, but here’s why it still matters.

Brand-building is a serious and long-term business investment. While a clumsy semicolon might not be so obvious a mistake as, say, a stretched logo, over time as your business matures and your brand becomes more sophisticated, these details will become increasingly significant. Modern marketing has nurtured brands to a point where marketeers are now fiercely protective of branding usage. The details matter, essentially because they matter to our customers (though they mightn’t realise why).

Establishing a consistent tone of voice from the outset matters because it sets the foundations for a strong brand. The details, once established, will naturally lend themselves to a sophisticated brand, and ultimately a powerful and recognisable one. An identifiable and effective brand is one that will not only see your customers returning to you time and again, but referring you on as well.

Getting it right

The process of developing a tone of voice to suit your business can take time. For the most part, it’s barely a consideration when new businesses are set up. Understandably, it falls down the list of priorities. But when communication plays an integral role in each of our encounters with customers, staff and suppliers, wouldn’t you want to consider the language they’re likely to respond to?

Your tone of voice will represent the personality of your business and will contribute to the relationship with your existing and prospective customers. It should speak a language they understand, empathise with and, ultimately, motivates them to action.

Who is your target demographic? Where do they live? Why will they be interested in what you have to offer? Once you have some of the answers to these questions, you’ll start to paint a picture of how they might like to communicate, and accordingly the traits of your tone and brand personality start to take form.

This tone, once established, should be reflected across all your communications. This means your website content, your direct marketing communications, and even the language with which you verbally use with your customers.

Every advert, blog post, tweet, infographic and video should pay homage to your established tone of voice.

Being a trusted brand

Brand and style guardianship cease to exist if their application become selective, even if ‘in the real world’ we treat the details as irrelevant. But ultimately, poorly crafted copy that gracelessly ignores a consistent style is not what you want to be putting out in the public forum. Don’t confuse your audience with conflicting styles and personalities. Imagine meeting someone several times, and on each occasion they assume different character traits. Would you trust them? Would you give them your hard-earned cash?

Me, neither.

Can I help you define your tone of voice? Get in touch today.