11 October 2018

Working Words: Why tone is important

Does your company's tone of voice and the language your team uses communicate the right message about your business? If not you could be missing out on a valuable way to amplify your brand.

The latest instalment of our "Working Words" series offers a two minute read on why tone is important.

Proposals, emails, reports, a response to a query or complaint from a client or customer.

Whatever our role, whichever sector we're in, at some point almost all of us have to (metaphorically) put pen to paper in the name of our company.

Of course, everyone is an individual - after all, no one wants to work somewhere filled with clones - but how much should that individuality come through when we are writing for our employer?

In fact, the 'tone of voice' that comes across in all company communication - whether website copy, presentations, marketing campaigns or how individuals relate to their own contacts, is a vital part of how the outside world perceives the business. It's as much part of the brand as the visual identity you express in your logo and design. Just as you wouldn't want out-of-date versions of your logo appearing on anything you publish, written communication that jars or is not consistent will dilute your brand. A tone that is recognisably 'your company' on the other hand is a key tool you can use to reinforce what you are about as a firm, and what's important to you. Tone is about how you say what you mean, but also about that the language that you use to get your message across, which together can send a powerful message to your clients, as well as partners, peers and potential recruits.

Where do you start if you want to establish your company's tone of voice? For most firms, this work will draw on their brand values. Established brand values guide the kind of organisation you are - it could be you are straight-talking, creative, energetic or expert. The work to hone your tone of voice will draw out how those values sound and the ways they can be expressed in day to day communication. If your brand values are all about energy and dynamism, then it flows that your tone of voice will be pacy and punchy, using active language and simple sentences.

To bring your chosen tone of voice to life and make it relatable for everyone who might communicate for you, illustrations are usually helpful: 'we sound like this…' and just as importantly, 'we don't sound like this...' Offer practical support and training to those who communicate for you most, and share examples of what works well, in every channel and format you use.

If you would like to discuss how to help your team communiciate in a consistent tone, then contact us on 020 7415 7154 to arrange a chat.