Strike the right tone

How businesses and brands can project personality and character through the content they create by altering their tone of voice

In highly competitive industries and markets, one way businesses can stand out from the crowd is by having personality. It is something companies of all shapes and sizes claim to have, but, in reality, very few are able to project character clearly and effectively. Indeed, even large corporations with monster marketing budgets simply miss the mark when it comes to creating a tone of voice and expressing their personality to consumers and clients.

Why? Because they have yet to master the art of creating content that speaks with a unique voice and that resonates with their target audience. Instead, they create drab content tongue-tied by corporate jargon that causes even the most determined reader to nod off two paragraphs in. When it comes to written content, portraying character and striking the right tone is vital if it is to grab the reader’s attention, deliver value, and foster brand awareness.

Creating a business/brand personality is no easy task, and careful consideration is required. You must think about how you want to position yourself;  thought also needs to be given to the industry you are in and the type of consumer/client you are seeking to engage – some sectors lend themselves to being quirky and playful, others require a more subtle approach. That said, every business should have its own personality, allowing it to better connect with its target audience.

A good example

Virgin is a good example of how to do this. Despite its size, it has successfully built a brand personality around being bold, colourful and, at times, a little brash. Take its Virgin Holidays subsidiary, for example – on its website, it says it is “passionate about creating the best holidays in the whole wide world”. This casual and chatty tone is carried throughout its website including the blog where posts include “Havana good time” and “Pack like a pro”.

Of course, this tone has been used because it strengthens Virgin Holiday’s brand and resonates with its audience. In comparison, luxury travel agent Kuoni adopts a different voice when speaking to its customers. Its website says: “We believe no two holidays should be the same and a human touch can make all the difference. We take the time to get to know you so we can help you plan an unforgettable holiday”. The differences may be subtle, but they are clear to see.

When it comes to creating content with character, it is important to remember three keys factors – engagement, education and entertainment. You must first engage the reader with your content, it must then educate them, and they must be entertained while reading it. Personality allows you to engage and entertain, while creating a proper content strategy ensures you educate the reader and deliver value.

Punchy and pithy

When it comes to writing with personality, think about the techniques you would deploy when having a conversation. You may look to alter your sentence structure so that your posts are punchy and pithy – this is great for those looking to create a conversational tone. For those aiming for a more exclusive vibe, carefully used adjectives can create a sense of luxury – “the sumptuous suite has unrivalled views over the crystal-clear ocean” sounds better than “the bedroom has nice sea views”.

Consistency is key, so if you opt for a more conversational tone this needs to be rolled out across all your written content, from websites to brochures via newsletters, social media and blog posts. It can be quite a large undertaking, but is critical when it comes to ensuring consumers/clients receive the same experience regardless of how and where they engage with your business. If you’re not careful you can create a Jekyll and Hyde situation with your brand.

Larger businesses should also deploy personality when communicating internally with their employees. Businesses that employ hundreds or even thousands of people can sometimes be seen as nothing more than a machine, with each employee just one small cog in the engine. But by creating content – staff portals, blogs, newsletters – that has a human voice and personality, it is possible to reconnect your workforce with your business and to make them feel part of it.

By striking the right tone, you can bring your content to life and take engagement to the next level. It is about communicating with consumers/clients/employees in a natural way, and in a style they embrace and wish to interact with. Personality, character and tone play a huge role in the way we communicate verbally, and they are just as important when using the written word.

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