18 April 2019
Tone of Voice
It is widely accepted that the words we use are only a small part of what makes successful communication. And tone of voice is exactly that.
It is all about how you say something rather than what you say.
And the right tone of voice can make a brand distinctive, appealing and set it apart from its competitors just as the wrong tone of voice can turn people off immediately.
At Brandon, we have been helping brands to define their own unique tone of voices, its great to get to the heart of how brands project their tone.
So we wanted to pull together our top 5 tips for getting the right tone of voice for your brand, as well as share our list of favourite brands.
Tip 1 – Use the archetypes model for inspiration
The brand archetype model was developed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. It is readily available online and is a great way to decide what your brand positioning and tone of voice should be. We love this model for its simplicity and use it frequently for pulling apart brand territories, finding space versus competitors and being single minded in our approach.
Tip 2 – Use a professional writer
So you have decided you want to play in a particular space, but don’t know where to start!? Paying a professional writer for a couple of days of time to develop and bring together the phrases, style and semantics of the language is a great use of resource. Are sentences long and formal or short and chatty? Does the language soothe the soul or shout in your face?
Tip 3 – Consistency is king
All brand touchpoints (packaging, social media, TV, internal communications, website) should consistently use the same tone of voice. It is often easy to think of a tone of voice for creative communication but then to forget to apply this across all the other touchpoints. Often because multiple agencies are involved who all like to put their own spin on things. Giving a really specific and detailed guide will help guarantee the consistency.
Tip 4 – Don’t fake it
Choose a tone of voice that reflects your values as a business/brand. There are multiple types of tone of voice and archetypes to choose from. It is much harder to take on a tone that jars with your business and where your brand has come from.
Tip 5 – Use other categories for inspiration
It is useful to see how your direct competitors are talking but we find we get more inspiration from looking at other not related categories. For example, we could look at water brands when we are developing more of a puritanical tone of voice or fashion categories when we are looking at luxury food, etc…
And whilst we are here, we at Brandon recently voted for our top 5 favourite brands tone of voice. So here they are… (in no particular order)
- Yorkshire Tea – If a brand could embody a straight talking no nonsense Yorkshire person who enjoys a ‘proper brew’ then Yorkshire tea would be that brand. Hat’s off… (we love this one the most as it fits with our principals as an agency!)
- Monty Bojangles – We love the Alice in wonderland quirkiness of this chocolate brand clearly weaved into the packaging design and strapline (curiously moreish) as well as their product descriptors (who doesn’t want Scrumple Nutty!).
- Method - Look Good: Do Better - The Innocent of household. The category codes in household were very stale for so long and Method completely broke the rules. Their design is simple and stripped back but also gives a small nod to their playful nature and their website is beautiful! Did you ever envisage a time when cleaning products would become a status product…?
- Brewdog – Before everyone else was trying to do it, Brewdog really owned that rebellious/anti convention tone of voice… The brand seems to have toned this down more of late as it matures and the category around it changes but it is still the original anti-establishment brand and being the first matters!
- Magnum – Lots of brands play in luxury and pleasure but we feel like Magnum do this in a very simple way that is 360 degrees consistent from the brand ‘crack’ of the chocolate, the borrowed ‘perfume/fashion’ codes feel of the copy and the activations such as the Magnum Pleasure Store pop ups (watch the video and drool!)
Interview with a Client Service Director – Simon Ellis
Who knew Simon is a musicals fan? But when he’s not belting out a classic, he loves nothing more than the feeling of absolutely nailing a client brief.
On pack messaging: Brand Purpose versus Distinctive Assets
Louise Kennedy on the strategies that brands implement when bringing together brand purpose and distinctive assets.
Transform Magazine: Iconicity as the route to impact
Managing Partner, Richard Taylor on the importance of iconicity in the route to impact.
The supplements brands gym-bound Brits will be turning to
Richard Taylor speaks to The Grocer about how brands need to cut through in the sports nutrition and supplements world.
Ever wondered what it's like working at Brandon?
We speak to two of our latest recruits to find out...
Design as a powerful asset in the fight for relevance
Strategist Tessa Hill on some of the key relevance challenges we’re asked to solve through the power of design.
FAB News: What do you stand for?
FAB News: Louise Kennedy on how winning the fight for relevance starts with positioning.
Interview with a strategist – Tessa Hill
Tessa loves being involved in a project from a very early stage.
All I want for Christmas... is a good limited edition strategy
Strategist Tessa Hill comments on the learnings from five of our favourite Christmas limited editions.
What role does innovation play in driving brand relevance?
Strategy Director Louise Kennedy with some top tips on how to use innovation to drive brand relevance.
Immunity in 2020
Strategist Tessa Hill uncovers the design codes shaping the immunity category in 2020.
Interview with a designer - Abi Taylor
Hear from our Co-Founder on her love of design and how Brandon came to be.
Reawakening a love for brand books
Senior Designer Jay Bates on why brand guidelines shouldn't be left at the bottom of a drawer.
Five Minutes with Louise Kennedy
Louise Kennedy talks to Transform about how brands can stay relevant and how packaging can improve brand performance.
FAB News: ‘Relevance - The Holy Grail of Marketing'
FAB News: Strategy Director Louise Kennedy on what relevance actually means.
Recession-ready tip #2 – Rethink innovation
How rethinking innovation can be a tool to get your brand ready for a recession.
Interview with a designer - Joe Bembridge
Read what inspires Brandon’s first full-time designer.
Recession-ready tip #1 – hero your distinctive brand assets
Brand Strategist Louise Kennedy considers hero-ing your distinctive assets to prepare for a recession.
Can casual dining brands survive on supermarket shelves?
Richard Taylor talks to Marketing Week about how hospitality brands can make an impact through supermarket retail.
Don’t underestimate the influence of packaging in the home
Brand Strategist Louise Kennedy discusses actionable ways for brands to build an emotional connection with consumers at home.
Interview with a Designer - Jay Bates
Brandon’s self-confessed brand architecture nerd, Jay, on what inspires him every day.
Marketing Week's ‘All change: The complex route ahead for automotive branding’
As car manufacturers face pressure to move to cleaner energy and shift their strategy, Richard Taylor, discusses what that means for brand.
Hero design for the new hero channel
Brand Strategist Louise Kennedy challenges what the hero design is and will become.
Hitting their peak: How brands plan to retain new customers post-lockdown
Managing Partner Richard Taylor talks to Marketing Week about shopping on autopilot and making new habits in the crisis.
Interview with a Designer - Grace Buckley
Grace can often be found in the supermarket rearranging the shelves to show off her work in its best light!
Reflections from the Darkside
Strategist Louise Kennedy’s view on agency life from the perspective of a ‘newbie’.
Will Harrods' bet on a new beauty brand pay off?
Managing Partner Richard Taylor talks to Marketing Week about Harrods' new beauty brand.
Desert Island Ads
We asked our Creative Director for his top 10 ads that shaped and inspired his thinking over the decades
D&AD Top 5 tips to move beyond mediocrity to design greatness
Inspiration from Rosie Arnold at the D&AD Talks 2019
The Joys of Brand Planning
Our Top 5 Brand Planning Tips - identifying new, exciting opportunities for growth.
Our 5 Key FMCG Brand Innovation Principles
Our 5 Key FMCG Brand Innovation Principles: What lessons can we learn from Coca-Cola's Life U-Turn?
The Brand Packaging Health-Check
The Brand Packaging Health-Check: 5 Killer Tips to see if a refresh is due or long overdue
The Art of FMCG Brand Architecture
Three principles we apply to ensure a successful brand architecture
Refreshing Established Food and Drink Brands
Here we discuss six routes for a brand to acquire new relevant meaning.
The Grocer - Pasta & Sauces report
The Grocer features Managing Partner Richard's thoughts on the pasta and sauces category.
In a bid for simplification and efficiency, the giants are emulating the discounters.
The Logo. On its last legs? Or fit as a fiddle?
Of late there has been a school of thought which argues that the static logo is terminally ill.