25 August 2021
9 Min Read
The intricate business of tuning your brand
The most simple way to define the tone of voice is next – it is the way you talk.
All of us use language – both written and spoken – in our own ways. The approach to expressing ourselves through the language has many layers depending on culture and dialect, but it also reflects a personality. It manifests in idiosyncrasies, some “special” words, favorite expressions, emotional tone, pace, how we address other people and so forth.
The same works for brands. How you choose to speak to your audience will define much of your brand identity. What you say is vital, for sure, but people will remember you for the style in which you deliver the message.
When it comes to crypto projects, tone of voice is essentially vital. Listen to this: the main area right now is DeFi. Projects in this area happen to be extremely close to its communities. So, the way they communicate with the audience is of great importance: you have to choose the right tone of voice in order to be on the same page with your community. This is how you “tune” your sound: by examining whether it resonates with your audience or not.
A tone of voice is an essential package for something you say; it defines, actually, how your messages will sound. It includes not only the tone itself; it is a carefully chosen vocabulary that makes the people count you “one of the guys”, the rhythm of the sentence, and word order.
For example, if you speak to your audience in simple, casual phrases, naming them “pals”, “friends” or even “fellas”, your tone of voice is informal, but there are many more layers, so to speak.
How to define it?
The way you say things comes from the values of your brand. It influences your attitude toward those you speak to.
Basically, a tone of voice stands on the two pillars: the brand’s values and the audience.
Values determine your message architecture and the core of your communication
The audience is your main support power and they expect you to understand them and their needs
You don’t have to follow the rules of some official style, speak with manners or get too polite. If you can allow your brand to sound a bit badass and toughie, people will remember you. This is one thing. Another thing is what you say. If your tone of voice gives you the right to be sarcastic, to use English humor in its different registers, then you have to be extremely vigilant with the choice of the words, associations, stories and reasonable vocabulary.
However, if the type of your product and the audience requires formal language in order to build proper communication, don’t feel shy to use words like “Greetings”, “Colleagues” and “Farewell” 🙂
To help brands master tone of voice, Nielsen Norman Group distinguishes four types of tone of voice:
(based on a sense of humour relevant to the brand’s sphere)
(trustful, dependable, and credible)
(professional, impersonal, and highly exact)
(friendly, might be achieved by slang or “trendy” vocabulary)
(expresses in kindness, humility, and care of the audience)
(assertive, knowledgeable, a bit ironic towards competitors)
(extraverted, friendly, expresses in the highly positive type of communication)
(straightforward, unemotional, exact)
And many more!
Think of these as your lighthouses rather than direct indicators. Each of these gives rather a hint on how you should craft it. Remember, many layers include connotations, associations and a way to raise certain emotions.
What tone of voice consists of?
Specific vocabulary that put an emphasis on your relation to certain attitude emotional involvement;
When can the tone of voice vary?
Your tone of voice can and should vary from time to time. Let’s take a look at such cases:
The audience you communicate with is not a target;
Different media: you can’t use the same tone of voice on LinkedIn and Instagram;
The aim of your message – if you are making a piece of news you shouldn’t be completely the same as in an educational post.
Quite often crypto projects that consist of 600-2000 community members – which is not a lot for the DeFi sphere – raise investments in the diapason of 200k-1million dollars because they found an appropriate tone of voice and vary it skillfully when it is needed.
If the communication is held in the right fashion, it could lead to the miracles performed by the audience.
The tone of voice graph
It is extremely helpful to navigate your chosen tone of voice as some kind of map. How can you do that?
Make a graph that includes all voice characteristics, and describe them as detailed as possible. Sometimes it is helpful to find references that highlight the way to achieve a certain quality of the tone.
Such visualisation can help you to set clear boundaries for the vocabulary, emotional features of your tone of voice, and shades of meaning.
People are sensitive to words and language. As soon as you talk you start breeding a certain feeling in those who listen to you.
Once you know who represents your audience and what kind of language resonates with them, you can develop a variety of tones with one core identity.
If you can keep this core among all of your channels of communication, you’ll get a distinguished, one-of-kind brand’s voice that is easy to recall.
Try experiments until you find how your brand sounds. You don’t have to be like some projects in Blockchain that already have a big audience. Don’t get too serious or informal only because it’s Blockchain – people here also want to be engaged, interested and dazzled. Maybe this is exactly how your brand sounds?