← Back

What is tone of voice and why is it important?

If I asked you to think about the word "tone", what comes to mind?

You might imagine spoken conversation. What's the tone of the conversation? Is it angry? happy? cautious? Tone can sometimes communicate feelings with listeners irrespective of word choice.

The tone of voice can create a friendly and inviting voice by using direct, second-person pronouns (e.g., "you") and simple, casual phrases. In comparison, using only third-person pronouns (e.g. "they"), complex wording, more technical terms, and industry jargon can create a more formal and distant tone.

Brand voice vs. tone of voice: what's the difference?

Although the two are somewhat related, brand voice and tone of voice serve two different purposes:

  • A brand voice represents the brand's unique perspective, personality, and the values it stands for.
  • The tone of voice is how the brand chooses to communicate the brand message.

Think of it this way: you're always "you" (brand voice), but you express yourself differently in different settings (tone of voice).

Why is tone of voice important?

Businesses need a tone of voice to guide written material, including their website content and copy, social media posts, emails, and packaging. Generally speaking, the tone of voice is how your brand communicates with your audience and how it influences readers to perceive your messaging. Although certain types of copy may require tonal changes, the overall tone of voice should be consistent throughout every piece of content.

So, how can tone of voice help your business?

  • It can give expression to the people behind the brand. It's about the people that make up the brand – the things that drive them and what they want to share with the world.
  • It helps a business stand out. A brand's tone of voice should be distinctive and recognisable from other brands and competitors and highlight what makes the brand unique.
  • It builds trust with readers. Familiarity breeds trust because the familiar usually requires little effort to process mentally and we tend to feel at ease around it. A business that is consistent in its use of tone and language in writing can become familiar to the customer and build their trust.
  • It can be used to influence and persuade. Language is powerful. Because readers are sensitive to language and tone, they can be used to elicit strong feelings and emotions. The correct tone of voice can influence and persuade customers to act, buy a product, or use a service.

Effectively implemented, tone of voice allows your audience to recognize your business or brand through content alone. The tone of voice is how the character of your business shines through using words.