Who are you talking to?

15/Apr/2016 · 2 MINS READ

Your company’s tone and voice are as essential to your brand as hot fudge to an ice cream sundae. An extension of your logo, company culture and messaging, both tone and voice work in tandem with each other and should not be thought of as interchangeable.

Learning to master tone and voice and understanding their relationship is key to creating engaging content that is consistent and on-brand.


Your voice is your style and encompasses everything from your personality to point of view, brand values, rhythm and vocabulary.
It helps to think about your brand voice in terms of adjectives, for example- lively, professional, cheeky, edgy or positive.

Developing your brand voice will allow you to communicate your produce or service with your audience beyond the key product benefits. It’s therefore imperative that you follow the three C’s when figuring out your voice:

Culture: What does your company stand for? What unique qualities make you stand out from the competition and how are these reflected in your company culture?

Community: Listen to the language your audience uses to speak to you and make an effort to adopt it into your voice. Communication is better when on the same level.

Conversation: Think about what you can add to enhance the conversation. What do you offer your audience? This is all about being authentic.


Whereas there is always a singular brand voice, there are many tones through which to express that voice.

Tone is your attitude. It can change depending on the message that you’re trying to convey and who you’re talking to.

For example, if your voice is positive, your tone may be uplifting, aspirational, inspiring or encouraging.

An example of an encouraging tone may be “If plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool.” This can be contrasted with an inspirational tone which may be “A dream you dream alone is a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality” – John Lennon.

Finding the right tone is all about nuances and subtly. In order to ensure you’re not missing anything, it helps to work from a template of questions, like the one below:

Voice: Humorous
Content type: Renewable energy article
Platform: Facebook
Reader: Millennials
Type of reader & feelings: Witty, edgy, left-wing
Tone: Sarcastic
Write like this: “Town refuses solar because it ‘sucks energy from the sun.’ In other news, water is also wet.”
Not like this: “A small town has refused the introduction of solar panels for fear the panels with suck energy from the sun needed for growing crops.”

Using the same example but adopting a different tone below, we can see how tone differentiates across audiences.

Voice: Humorous
Content type: Renewable energy article
Platform: Facebook
Reader: Business leaders
Type of reader & feelings: Sharp, informed, straight to the point
Tone: Direct
Write like this: “Need a laugh? This town’s attitude towards solar panels will have you in hysterics.”
Not like this: “Did you know? Solar panels suck energy from the sun- shocking.”

When writing in accordance to your voice and tone, it helps to imagine that you are having a vocal conversation with another person. Would they stare blankly at what you say or laugh as you wanted them to?