Imagine James Bond coming up to you one day and introducing himself as such: Hi there, I’m James Bond. You would probably think that he is not the real 007 agent. Or even worse, him asking the bartender at a party for an amaretto sour. This can cause some serious brain confusion, making you see the macho MI6 agent as a wild party girl.
And why is that? Because we are all used to James Bond talking and acting in specific ways. I mean his famous trademark is the sentence we all secretly reenacted in front of the mirror: “Bond. James Bond”; not to mention that Bond loves his martini.
Bond is known to be a man of few words, who is confident, cold and mysterious. These are the main elements that make him unique, and give him a very specific character and tone of voice.
This example can be applied to many iconic characters we’ve known through movies or literature. And of course it is applied to brands.
You see, a brand is a character, a very unique person that speaks, acts and thinks in its own way and tone of voice. But more importantly, this person MUST always maintain this tone of voice, otherwise he/she will be out of character.
Coming up with a brand’s tone of voice is not a piece of cake, unless you decide that your brand is sweet and fluffy. But for most brands, creating the right tone of voice is a great responsibility. It is what makes it what it is in terms of communication and attitude. That being said, a tone voice is a mixture of genetic characters that will stay with your brand forever.
In order to conceive the perfect tone of voice for a brand you must first know and memorize the brand’s assets and PROMISE, because they are the elements that will guide your approach in terms of language complexity, culture, tone and attitude.
If for example your brand is all about high quality and expertise, your wording and brand’s dialect should convey those attributes. If it is young, hip and speaks to youth, your brand must be as young and up to date as your audience. Which leads us to the golden rule: You are speaking to a specific audience. Hence, you need to speak in the same way they do. The iconic brand Coca-cola for example sells happiness. And having a broad and universal target audience, Coca-cola speaks in a down to earth and international happy tone of voice. As for Harley Davidson, it is a brand targeting middle-aged men who are looking to be rebellious and grab life by its horns. Hence, its rebellious tone fits perfectly with that of the audience.
Bottom line is, never ever take the tone of voice of a brand lightly. It is its essence, and your job is not only to create it, but maintain it. This will not only make it solid and consistent, it will also create a stronger relationship with your target audience based on identification and resemblance.
Tony Raad Content Creator and Creative Writer