4th June 2024

Getting The Right Tone Of Voice (TOV) For Your Brand

In the cacophony of today's market, where there’s often a struggle for share of voice and tonnes of competition to consider, establishing a distinct identity is absolutely paramount. You can achieve this by getting the Tone Of Voice (TOV) for your brand exactly right. It’s not necessarily about what you say, but how you say it that leaves a lasting impression.

As experts in creative marketing and strategic positioning in the market, we’d like to think we’re pretty well suited to speak about TOV. So, we’ve got the Big Cat and Leopard Co team together to talk about getting your tone of voice right, and why it’s so crucial you do so.

TOV Blog Image (1)

Why is TOV important?

Firstly, let’s look at what TOV is.

This is an all-encompassing term for the style, personality, and emotion of a brand, which is conveyed through the communication and engagement with your customers. Your tone of voice should both set the mood of your business and shape its personality. Whether it's formal or casual, authoritative or friendly… Every word expressed by a brand all contributes to its TOV and is very important to how that business is perceived in the marketplace.

TOV serves as a key differentiating factor against your competition. It humanises your business and helps to foster a sense of connection and relatability with your audience. Consumers are much more likely to trust you if they feel ‘on your level’, whether that’s in a colloquial or professional way. This will depend on your business, which we’ll come on to shortly.

A consistent and well-defined TOV not only enhances brand recognition but also cultivates trust and loyalty among consumers. That’s why consistency is so important here. Moreover, it can amplify engagement, as people are more inclined to interact with content that feels ‘a bit of them’.

TOV Website

How to get your TOV right?

Strategic planning

TOV should be one of the first things established when handling a business formation or re-brand, as it should really underpin all your marketing activity. At this stage, you’ll need to think about your brand’s core values, goals, and target audience. These should then guide the development of your TOV, ensuring alignment with your brand's ethos and resonating with your intended demographic. All good marketing starts with strategy, and we know, because that’s what we’re really good at here at Big Cat.

Audience recognition

It’s also vital that your TOV aligns with your audience; as after all, they are what it’s all about. This is where you can identify whether you have room to be a bit cheeky with your brand and marketing, or whether you should remain authoritative and professional. Legal firms, for example, should recognise why their clients come to them in the first place and develop their TOV around this understanding, FMCG and bars and restaurants for example may have more room to be playful with their tone as a way of drawing in their audience. Sometimes, your audiences may differ, and that’s OK too – you can tweak your strategy to suit so long as the wider message makes sense. We did exactly this with The Student Energy Group, and our clever use of language resulted in a reach of over 2m and 19,000 new users.

Consistency in delivery

Thinking of key brands that get their TOV right, some of which we’ll touch on later, a linking factor in their success that they are consistent. Their language may change slightly depending on the channel or stakeholder they’re engaging with – but the wider vision is always the same, and the brands are instantly recognisable.

Be flexible

And finally, just because you have your TOV outlined, that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone until the end of time. When you initially outline your marketing strategy, leave some room for manoeuvre when establishing who you want to be and how you want to sound. Like we mentioned before, there may be different types of stakeholders you want to engage with, so ensure your proposition is flexible and not super niche. Plus, allowing for changes within your marketing and TOV means that you can hop on trends without having a ‘new brand, who’s this?’ moment.

Who does it right?

Companies such as Aldi, Innocent and Ryanair are all rather well known in the marketing world for their well-established TOV. To their customers, they’re quirky and playful with a ‘human’ element through and through.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking your tone of voice has mirror this to be successful, brands such as The Telegraph and The Times are respected for a more authoritative and trustworthy tone, conveying credibility and reliability in their journalism.

Other UK brands that have a different, but still successful TOV include the likes of Virgin and Tesco. Instead of going down the ‘mischievous’ route, these businesses have established approachable but informed tones. This determines that they are leaders in their industries, an engaging brand and also a great employer. It’s pretty neat that all of this is taken just from the language they choose to use! 

If you’d like to see your brand in this list, then why not speak to us at Big Cat? Experts in the Behavioural Science behind marketing and flawless strategic planning, we can help set a lasting and winning tone of voice that will surely see you set apart from your competitors.

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