What is voice and tone? And why do they matter?

When it comes to brand identity, there's a lot of design elements at play to connect with potential customers off the bat.

And while good design can undoubtedly do that ('sup, Fyre Festival?), there's more to your brand than just a pretty face. Just like us humans, personality goes a long way.

What you say and how you say it matters. Specifically, your voice and tone.

The voice and tone of your brand work together to get you to talk like your ideal customers, and stick out to them. Have you ever read a piece of packaging or an email that easily got your attention? That's voice and tone in action. They make messages relatable, personable, and delightful to read.

Without a distinct tone or voice, you'd sound like everyone else. Bland and boring, like verbal steamed broccoli. Who wants to sound like a wet, dull vegetable? Not you.

Finding and owning your voice and tone matters. Because when you can walk the walk and talk the talk, your brand can be sautéed broccoli tossed in a Korean BBQ sauce with sesame seeds, chili flakes, and spring onions. Spicy, irresistible, and addictive.

What is voice?

Voice is your brand's personality. It never changes (unless, of course, you go through a rebrand) and displays your brand's character. It guides how the brand acts, and stems from your internal values.

It's what you say, and lets customers know who's talking.

What is tone?

If voice is personality, then tone is mood. It's how a brand speaks.

Tone is purely contextual and changes all the time. If you want your messaging to strike a chord with customers new and old, your tone has to change.

You wouldn't use the same tone to announce a new product as you would on your 'about' page. Your voice stays the same, but how you're communicating will fluctuate.

Why do voice and tone matter for brands?

Let's use Nuggs and Quorn as an example. These two companies sell the same product: meatless chicken nuggets. But their identities, personalities, and tones are starkly different.

We'll start with Nuggs. When you first land on their website, you're greeted with a pretty bold headline:

Nuggs 2.0. The Tesla of Chicken.

Now, I don't know about you, but this has me intrigued. For them to insinuate they're as revolutionary as the sporty, sophisticated Tesla tells me a lot about who they are and how they speak.

They have a big personality, and go for gutsy when describing their product:

"NUGGS utilize an advanced soy protein technology that enables a hyper-realistic simulation of the texture and flavor of an animal-based nugget."

They don't just make a vegan chicken nugget. They make "a chicken nugget simulation" that "kills you slower."

Nuggs is blunt, confident, and weird.

On the other side of the ring, we have Quorn. They take a totally different approach in how they describe their product.

Quorn Meatless Nuggets

Their target audience is families, so they're mainly speaking to parents. Vegetarian or not, Quorn speaks from a place of encouragement to get you, your kids, and even your friends to try these meatless nuggets.

Quorn makes this stance clear by describing their nuggets as a "crowd-pleasing," "quick and easy snack." A sharp contrast from the vegan Tesla.

Quorn is friendly, informative, and welcoming.

It's worth noting that the messaging of these two brands hit differently because of their visual identities. Their choice of colors, typography, and supporting imagery have been carefully chosen to strike a specific chord with people. Their target customers, missions, and value propositions are different.

Nuggs and Quorn are competitors in the meatless nugget space, and depending on your personality, there's one you'll gravitate towards more.

Ready to find your voice and tone?

I help lifestyle and wellness brands show off their quirks, charms, and one-of-a-kind personalities to vibe with their tribe.

When you're ready to walk the walk, talk the talk, and slay the competition, give me a shout.

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