This is a conversation today on brand voice vs brand tone.
Matt Singley recently stated,
Those who are good with social media can develop a brand voice. Only those that are great can also develop tone.
I have been thinking a lot about this lately. In all honesty, I had to take myself back to the “brand voice” vs “brand tone” definitions.
Brand Voice vs. Brand Tone
These are simply “the words, phrases, and characteristics that set a brand apart and take a back seat to the more “important” visual aspects of the brand.” (via Brand Story)
Brand voice in social media communicates personality. Brand voice can be fairly easy to identify from the get go. (If not, then you better step back to the beginning of figuring out who and what you are as a brand.)
- Who will your intended audience “hear” when they are viewing your Facebook posts?
- Who will your intended audience “hear” when they are reading through your Twitter stream?
- Who will your intended audience “hear” when scanning through your Blog?
If you are not sure how to find it, try:
- Writing down adjectives (or other words) that describe your brand (You can even make a word cloud from your website, brainstorming sessions, etc. via something like Wordle.)
- Brainstorm with other people within the company.
- Ask other people how they view your brand.
And then, turn that into the personality. Craft the human voice.
Remember, in social (and in real life): “Human = Interesting (@JasonFalls).”
Your brand has a personality; it has a voice. That was the easy part! But how do you turn that voice and establish your brand’s point-of-view and attitude towards your target audience and subject matter in the social space?
Enter: Brand Tone.
Part of the Branding Platform, “How the brand speaks to its audiences.” Basically, “How we say what we say.”
A brand comes to life with both voice and tone, but in the long run, it’s “tone” that separates the good from the great.
Putting this into perspective: My personality stays the same from day-to-day. I am Sarah Kay Hoffman. I know who I am, what I want and I also know that I have an impeccable attitude towards life. That’s my voice. Now, depending on who I’m talking to, my tone will differ in how I communicate those thoughts. I do not sound the same when talking to my grandmother as I do my clients or my mother or my friends or even my dogs! I would likely gather that you have multiple tones, too (not personalities)!
This is okay for me, but this is not okay for a brand. No one wants to see a brand in the social space that does not “get” itself or the people they are intending to reach. Brands who understand themselves completely have better overall communication and ultimately more longevity in the social space. Why? Because like the social media “channel” in general, consistency is key.
Some things to ask:
- Who/what is your brand in the social space?
- How do you want your audience to hear you? (I believe the way in which we “hear” a brand makes us gravitate towards or against it.)
- Do you want your tone to resonate and be acceptable to: Generation X? Generation Y? Generation Z? (The best brands will not say, “D: All of the Above.”)
Personality steps forward with ease. Tone is oftentimes confused due simply to a misunderstanding of the correct audience, context, and verbiage (nouns, adjectives, lol’s and rofl’s, slang, formal vs. informal, etc.). If you are looking to go from good to great, think about these things before you jump into the big pool of “social” because back to what Matt said,
“Those who are good with social media can develop a brand voice. Only those that are great can also develop tone.”
Thoughts? Which brands are good? Which are great? Which brands are great in real life but just good in the social space?
You will heal. I will help.