Tone of voice

What is a brand tone of voice?

Ah, the elusive brand tone of voice! It’s like the personality of your brand, but without the awkward family gatherings. We know, you’ve heard this term a thousand times before and you’re probably still wondering if it’s just marketing mumbo-jumbo. But don’t worry, we’re here to enlighten you on the ins and outs of the brand tone of voice (and to confirm it’s definitely not mumbo-jumbo!)

Every brand has its own unique voice, just like an individual in a crowded room. Imagine your brand as a person at a party, engaging and conversing with guests, leaving a memorable impression that lasts long after the event. This distinct voice is what we call the “brand tone of voice,” the essence of how your brand communicates and connects with the world.

In the dynamic world of digital marketing and branding, understanding what your brand’s tone of voice is, is essential. It goes beyond words on a screen, and shapes the personality, emotions, and character of your brand, setting it apart in a sea of competitors.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

What is Tone of Voice?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s break it down for those who want to start at the basics. Your brand’s tone of voice is the unique way it communicates with the world. The best way we can describe it is: It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. 

Think of it as the language and personality your brand adopts to engage and resonate with your audience. It’s like the key to your brand’s personality.

Why is Tone of Voice so Important?

Picture this – you’re at a party, and someone’s cracking jokes that could rival Shakespeare. You’re chuckling and having a grand old time. Suddenly, another partygoer appears and starts talking in a monotone voice about tax regulations. Yawn, right? Your brand’s tone of voice works similarly. It can make or break connections with your audience.

Another example, you’ve made really good friends with a new mate you met at a barbecue last weekend – they were fun, cracking jokes, the light of the party! Then the next few times you meet up, they’re stuffy, awkward, boring and mean. Not what you’d come to expect from this particular person, right?

Therefore tone of voice is key for two very important reasons:

  1. Relating to your audience
  2. Consistency in portraying your brand

And we’ve got the stats to back it up to! Research on consumer behaviour discovered why particular brands stood out more than others: 

  • 40% of consumers said they prefer memorable content
  • 33% said a distinct personality was important
  • 32% prefer compelling storytelling

In all three of these findings, brand tone of voice plays a vital role. But this begs the next question; what does the tone of voice look like?

What are the Different Types of Tone of Voice?

Your tone of voice needs to align with how your audience views your brand. So taking that into consideration, let’s explore some different types of tone of voice, and some brands that are using them:

1. Funny & personable

Brands that use a funny and personable tone of voice feel like you’re mates down the pub. Their tweets, website, and emails probably feel like someone’s just having a nice chat with you about what they’re up to, and they’re comfortable enough to have a joke about it at the same time. 

Brands who use this tone of voice give off a more casual, friendly feel. It allows their audience to feel like they can relate to the company! Have a giggle at some of these examples!

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Innocent Drinks


2. Empathetic and caring

An empathetic and caring tone of voice is used by some brands to build emotional connections with their audience, whilst also being able to humanise the brand, and address customer pain points effectively. 

It allows sensitive topics to be navigated with respect, and can align with brand values, reinforcing a commitment to making a positive impact on customers’ lives and society. However, brands using this tone must do so with authenticity and consistency to avoid coming across as insincere. Have a look at some examples.

Bloom & Wild

Scottish Widows

3. Confident and refined

A confident and refined tone of voice is used by brands to exude authority, competence, and sophistication. By projecting self-assurance, these brands instil trust and credibility in their audience. The use of polished language reflects a high level of professionalism, making the brand appear reliable and dependable. 

This tone helps brands stand out as leaders in the industry, and appeals to customers seeking top-quality products or services. It also allows the brand to communicate complex ideas clearly and concisely, showcasing its expertise. However, maintaining consistency in this tone is crucial to avoid seeming arrogant or disconnected from the audience’s needs. Apple and Nike are two major companies sporting confident tones of voice.



5. Informative and educational

An informative and educational tone of voice helps to impart knowledge, insights, and value to their audience, by providing useful information and sharing expertise. These brands can position themselves as trusted sources of information in their respective fields. 

This tone fosters a sense of authority and credibility, making customers more likely to turn to the brand for guidance and solutions. The language used is clear, straightforward, and focused on delivering valuable content that educates and empowers the audience. Through this tone, brands can establish themselves as thought leaders, nurturing a loyal customer base that appreciates the brand’s commitment to enhancing their understanding and skills.


Which? Money

How to Find Your Brand’s Tone of Voice

So think of your brand like this; if they were a person, what would they sound like? Are they casual, relatable and easy-going? Are they formal, professional and informative? Would they be cracking jokes at the work meeting, or putting forward ideas about strategy? Humanising your tone of voice can be a helpful way to figure out what you want your brand to sound like

So, now you’re ready to embark on this adventure of discovering your brand’s true voice, here’s a simple roadmap to lead you on your way:

1. Know Your Audience:

Research, analyse, and talk to your audience – like eavesdropping on their tea-time conversations (in a polite way, of course). Understanding their preferences and quirks will help tailor your tone of voice accordingly.

2. Define Your Brand’s Personality:

Ask yourself, if your brand were a person, who would it be? The more you define your brand’s personality traits, the clearer your tone of voice will become.

3. Stay True to Your Values:

Your tone of voice should align with your brand’s values and mission. Consistency is key to building trust with your audience.

4. Test, Refine, Repeat:

Take your tone of voice for a test drive, and be open to tweaking it along the way. Feedback from your audience is your compass to navigate the right path.

In conclusion, your brand’s tone of voice is the secret sauce to building lasting relationships and standing out in a crowded digital market! But it’s important to know that no tone of voice is better than the other. Yes, we all love to chuckle at Innocent Smoothie’s memes and Gregg’s relatable content, but that wouldn’t work for everyone. You can engage with your audience in more ways than just being funny! Make sure that whichever tone of voice you use, it reflects who you are and will still engage with your target audience.

So what now?

Establishing a tone of voice is only a sliver of what makes up a brand. If you think that you need to rethink your brand and how you are portraying yourself, that’s a pretty big deal. We suggest that you approach some friendly branding experts (aka Milk & Tweed) to help you solidify your brand, as well as establish a fitting tone of voice. Feel free to get in touch! We are always down for a friendly chat to talk all things branding!

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