Watch your tone

When it comes to presenting your business to the world, consistency is good. It is why companies spend so much time on branding, producing style guides that can require logos to be placed accurately down to the millimetre.

Jump to the main content area

If that’s you, then great, but ask yourself whether you spend the same amount of time ensuring what you’re saying is as accurate and consistent? If not, why not?

Tone of voice (TOV) guides have increased in prominence over recent years, and are now as essential as style guides in ensuring that you are projecting the right message. After all, how you say something is as important as what you say.

For TOV beginners, a great example can be seen in TV chefs. Like most brands, TV chefs are all essentially delivering the same thing, and need to differentiate themselves through personality.

Jamie Oliver’s cheeky banter, Gordon’s direct machismo, Delia’s prim and properness, Nigella’s seductive flirtations - they all adhere to a strict TOV. And, while their TOV may be completely natural or not, each has been effectively utilised and carefully maintained to appeal to a certain audience.

When developing your own TOV guide, you need to think about your company’s values and personality, your ambitions and your audience. Every communication, indeed every piece of written output should reflect these.

A TOV guide is the first step to ensuring everyone in your business is on the same page, and that you’re perceived as you want to be.