Tone of voice

Find a voice that's uniquely you

The way you talk, says volumes about you as a brand. Is your language bold or flowery, down to earth or quirky? Whatever you sound like, you probably don't want to sound like your competitors.

 

Tone is a critical part of your brand identity.

By identifying what it is that makes your voice uniquely you, we help strengthen your brand so that everyone can add value, whether they're writing a poster, a presentation or a tweet.

We've developed distinctive voices for brands and businesses as varied as universities and utilities, paints and tech platforms, superyachts and sauces.

 

We give brands the tools and the training needed to empower their teams, and their agencies, with a fresh take on language that helps them stand out from the crowd.

The three key benefits from having a clear tone of voice are:

1. Differentiation​

You don't look the same as your competitors. So why sound the same. A distinctive tone is one more way to stand out from the crowd.

2. Consistency

If you sound serious one moment, light-hearted the next, your customers won't know what you stand for. Clear guidelines will help pull all your comms together.

3. Confidence

Empowering teams to write in a specific way will help make them more productive and effective writers. And add value to the business at every opportunity.

Who we’ve helped

Read more about our tone of voice work for:

Our approach

Take a close look at you (and your rivals)

1

Where is your brand headed and how can writing help you get there?

We’ll review your brand in depth. To make your voice really sing, we need to understand where your business is headed. We'll pore over writing from across the business, looking for strengths and weaknesses in everything from tone to purpose, clarity to storytelling. And we'll review your competitors to make sure the tone of voice is genuinely different.

Who are you like?:

  • Lego - ‘playful’

  • Jamie Oliver - ‘energetic’

  • Dove – ‘beautifully uncomplicated’

  • Paperchase – ‘we spark imagination’

  • Mailchimp – ‘our humour is dry’

lego bricks.png

Push for buy-in across the board

2

Without sign-off from the top, your advice has further to fall

We’ve seen too many tone of voice guidelines fail because senior figures weren’t involved. To make sure you have senior stakeholder buy-in, we suggest running a facilitated session with the senior team to explain the principles behind the tone of voice and how valuable their input is.


We also run wider-ranging facilitation sessions for teams so that a broad base of stakeholders are engaged in the process.

Get buy-in from the top 
Make sure the guidelines have a foreword from someone senior
Create a short film to play at the start workshops you should run

Turn your brand values into writing values

3

Turning your values into character traits that inform writing

We’ll find a set of values or an expression that captures the brand spirit in a way that is useful to writers.


It may be that the brand values don’t translate directly into characteristics that can be turned into a written style. In which case we will recommend an alternative phrasing or related values that capture the spirit of the brand values.

Too many values - we see brand guidelines with tonal values running into dozens. How many tonal values can you remember while you write?

Too little explanation – many guides are written in a way that assumes a lot of knowledge on the part of the reader.

Show how those values work in writing

4

Turning personality into points.
Practical advice that everyone can use.

Having defined the personality we need to turn that into something useful for writers (and non-writers). There’s no point defining your personality if no one can translate it into words.


We’ll flesh out the guidelines with specific bits of advice, tips and examples that show how it can be used. We’ll make it sound easy to do and demonstrate how it can make a real difference. 

We’re great believers in the power of print. Putting a booklet in their hands shows you've invested in this in a way a PDF never will. But you may have an intranet you want to use. Interactive pages are a good way to get engaged teams too.

Run workshops that bring the tone of voice to life

5

Tone of Voice programmes don’t succeed without training

Running workshops is a key part of making your tone of voice stick. A workshop will bring the concept alive and engage the team in bringing it to life. Because we frequently turn our guidelines into practical workshops, we know how to run an inspiring and informative session.


Where teams are widely spread, creating a webinar version of the workshop can be an ideal way to help them understand the practical implications of the new tone of voice.

Typically, sessions are half a day long, so two teams can attend on the same day.