Brand Tone of Voice: Things to Consider When Defining Your Tone of Voice

by | Branding, Copywriting

A brand’s tone of voice is how it expresses itself, its values, and its message through all channels. The brand’s tone of voice is a creative expression that conveys brand personality and character, builds customer familiarity, and communicates.

To stand out from the crowd, you must consider how you communicate with customers through words and language.

Here are some things that should be considered when defining a clear brand tonal direction.

What are your brand’s story and values?

The brand story and values are the foundation for creating your brand tone of voice. 

Your brand story comprises mission, vision, and values. These details give customers an idea of what your brand stands for.

However, they can also inform customers on how to expect communication from your brand regarding tone, style, and language. 

For example, suppose your brand has a mission statement emphasising providing top-notch service to its customers. In that case, phrases such as “we strive to provide excellence” or “our priority is delivering quality service” will reflect that.

Additionally, brand values such as reliability or trustworthiness should be featured in the tone of voice. 

It could be through words like “dependable” or emphasis on long-term commitments to customers. The language expressing these core brand qualities assures customers that their needs will be understood and met when interacting with the brand.

Developing your brand’s tonal direction based on its story and core values greatly benefits your brand positioning effort. 

A way to test your brand tone of voice is through preliminary reviews. Invite multiple members to review any proposed content before it goes into the world.

Their perspectives can help ensure that any content created has an authentic brand tone of voice and message.

Who is your target audience?

The brand’s target audience heavily influences the choice of the brand’s tone of voice.

A brand’s tone of voice should be tailored to address the needs and wants of its target audience. Knowing with whom your brand interacts and understanding their needs, interests, and preferences will help you craft more engaging messages.

For example, if a brand targets millennials, its communication style should be direct but lighthearted with simple yet relatable language.

Millennials respond positively to minimalism in design and messaging, so avoiding jargon or long technical explanations will help keep them engaged. In addition, using humour in brand messaging can also help capture their attention and create a memorable brand experience. 

On the other hand, for an older demographic, your brand may need to take a more formal approach to its communication style.

Your tone of voice should be free of jargon, colloquial phrases, and pop culture references. It ensures that your message can be easily understood without causing confusion or frustration.

For a brand’s tone of voice to truly resonate with its target audience, it must reflect its values while remaining true to the brand itself. 

It means understanding the target audience and their values. Afterwards, use language or expressions that align with those values throughout all customer touchpoints.

For instance, if your brand and target audience share the core value of sustainability, consider using words and phrases such as “eco-friendly”, “green”, “better future”, etc.

It makes customers believe that your brand shares similar beliefs. Trust, in turn, can further build brand loyalty. 

Fun and Quirky or Serious and Traditional?

Not all Malaysian SMEs and big brands operate in the same way. Some are more fun, and some more solemn.

For your brand, you need to decide which side of the spectrum your brand leans more. 

1. Fun and Quirky Brand Tone of Voice

Fun, quirky brand tones of voice is a great way to stand out and create an engaging customer brand experience. A fun brand tone of voice should be playful and energetic while conveying the brand’s message meaningfully.

Using humour in brand messaging can effectively connect with customers while still conveying the brand’s key message.

However, it is important to remember that all jokes should remain appropriate for the brand’s intended audience. Using puns or playful phrases instead of the typical corporate lingo adds personality to brand messaging, making it more appealing to customers.

Pop culture references or current events can ensure brand messaging remains relatable and on-trend. Additionally, creative language can help capture customers’ attention.

If you are a Malaysian smartphone user, there is almost a 100% chance you have heard of MGAG.

The brand encapsulates best what a fun, quirky, and witty brand tone of voice is. Its constant pop references and immersion in the meme culture are evident.

Looking at its Facebook page, you can immediately tell its distinct brand tone of voice.

However, be cautious, as too much of a playful tone, for certain brands, can hamper credibility.

Thus, it’s important to still maintain professionalism with the tone of voice in brand messaging. Achieving the right balance between fun and professional messaging will help ensure that all customer interactions remain enjoyable and informative.

2. Serious and Traditional Brand Tone of Voice

Serious, traditional brand tones of voice should be authoritative and professional. 

However, it does not compromise its approachable, relatable tone either.

Such a brand tone of voice should focus on conveying brand messages clearly and succinctly. At the same time, avoid language or expressions that may be perceived as too casual or confrontational. 

This brand voice should be confident in its messaging while still being friendly and inviting to customers. For example, brand messaging can include phrases such as “We are here to help” or “Let us know how we can assist you”.

Tones as such show the brand’s willingness to help without appearing too forceful or intimidating. 

A brand tone of voice that is both serious and traditional helps build brand trust with customers. Besides, it gives brand communications an air of professionalism.

It makes sense that financial institution brands such as StashAway and Maybank adopt a serious yet amiable tone of voice.

The authority derived from such a tone of voice builds credibility. However, both brands avoid using coercive tone or language to appear approachable.

By ensuring brand messages are clear, concise, and respectful, brands can better engage customers and form positive relationships over time.


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