Tone of voice is how your company sounds when you talk and write to people. Get it right and it can change your organisation. It can be the bedrock of cultural change, it can get your employees excited, help teams communicate more easily and show customers what you are really all about. And when people get this they tend to buy more. In a nutshell, tone of voice can change everything in your business in a good way.
But done badly it sucks. Companies spend thousands creating pretty documents that tell everyone which language to use and in which document. They hand these documents out. And then everyone pops them on a shelf promising to look at them when they next need to write something. But they don’t. They get busy, they lack confidence and your lovely new tone of voice fades away.
We’ve written before about some of the reasons that tone of voice doesn’t always take hold. But it’s good to have examples of people who are doing it brilliantly.
Check out Mail Chimp’s Voice and Tone Guidelines
And the reason it works…?
- Easy access, web based so anyone, anytime can get to them.
- Simple, easy-to-use format broken down into types of content and communication (so when you need to write an email or a tweet you can find the right guidance).
- It shows a response – in writing we’re often responding to a request or need, and to do this well we need to understand how the customer feels as well as the right language to use.
- It tells us what to write but also gives us tips, so we have the confidence to move ‘beyond the script’.
So forget unwieldy documents that no one will read and consider digital solutions, video and helplines. Get everyone excited about your new tone of voice by making the experience of it exciting.
Do you have any good techniques for making tone of voice stick?