"Our brand's tone of voice is professional, friendly and knowledgeable."
Nope. Nope. Nope.
If this sounds familiar, it’s time to reconsider.
Because being—and therefore, sounding—professional, friendly and knowledgeable are "givens”. Meaning things that are true for every (or almost every) functioning business. They are not brand specific.
Could you run a business by being the opposite: unprofessional, unfriendly and unknowledgeable? I'm sure there are a few outliers, but generally the answer is no.
The whole point of defining a tone of voice is to distinguish your brand from others. To do this successfully you need to move beyond "must-haves" to something more singular.
And that means getting specific.
Say you're particularly drawn to "friendly" for your brand's tone of voice. Why is this? And can you narrow it down to something more meaningful? Something you could build an identity around?
🎩 What about charming, magnetic or alluring?
👋 Maybe cheerful, amiable or cordial feel like a better fit?
❤️ Or perhaps heartfelt, earnest or sincere work better for your brand?
These are all more distinctive options than "friendly" and point towards a tangible personality that can come through in your copy, rather than a generic truism.
Let’s consider “knowledgeable” in the same way. Why does this feel important for your brand? And what does it really mean for you?
🔍 Would aware, perceptive or astute feel right for your brand?
🧘 Enlightened, open-minded or progressive might be more aligned?
🧐 Or visionary, farsighted or prescient could be along the right lines?
If you’re struggling for inspiration here, Emotive Feels is a great resource to spark some creativity and get those ideas flowing.
Settling on the right personality traits is only half the battle. The next step is laying out what these traits mean for your brand's voice in practical terms—what does it look like in action?
But that's another post for another day.
So, with this in mind, what's your brand's tone of voice? If you'd like help going beyond givens and getting specific, get in touch 🤗
I started Tone of Voice Nerd because too many of my clients were investing in vague tone of voice guides that didn’t help their team, or freelance copywriters like me, write good copy.
I knew I could do a better job and produce tone of voice guides—or brand voice blueprints, to use their fancy name—people would actually find useful.
They're designed to give you clarity on how to speak to customers, the confidence to communicate who you are as a business and the tools to present the value of what you do to the world.
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