Embrace the beauty of a distinct personality and stand out against the competition with an incredible brand voice and tone your fans will spot from a mile off, copywriter Amanda Bensted shows us how.
These days, a brand isn’t just the representation of a product. It’s a world unto itself. It makes consumers members of a private club and reinforces their sense of belonging.
And it achieves this by having its own values, stories, and, importantly, its own personality. How does an entity – often spanning countries and time zones – convey a united personality? Through the tone and voice of its content.
This consistency is what sets memorable brands apart from the competition. Imagine if Nike encouraged us to “just do it” on Instagram but invoked us to “get on with the job” on their Facebook page.
Tone and voice can be defined with everything from imagery to rhythm and pace. But a particularly notable way to achieve a consistent brand personality in your copy is in your choice of vocab.
See how I used the shortened “vocab” rather than its more syllabic vocabulary? See how it makes my voice seem lighter, more informal, and friendlier? That’s what we’re setting out to do here.
The difference between tone and voice
Before we get into nailing those all-important words for your brand, it’s worth understanding the difference between tone and voice.
Tone and voice are often used interchangeably both on social media and within copywriting circles. But there is, in fact, a distinct difference between the two.
Voice is the personality of your brand, often summed up with adjectives like “bubbly”, “positive”, or “serious”.
A tone, on the other hand, can be determined by everything from the content and context to the channel of communication.
There’s usually only one voice for your brand, but many tones within it. Both will impact your word choice, but voice is more likely to convey the overall feel of your copy, whereas tone will more directly impact which words you use.
Let’s take a look at those words again.
In the case of adverbs
Most copywriters will tell you to avoid the word “very” at all costs and they’re absolutely right.
“Very” isn’t just a snooze-worthy word; it can almost always be replaced with a stronger adjective, eliminating the need for “very” altogether.
Take “very tired” and you have “exhausted”. A much more powerful word.
Most brand copy is powerful when it’s conversational. When it mimics the turns of phrase of its target audience. When it’s on the same level as its readers, but even cooler than they could imagine.
Your brand needs to interact with your audience in a way that makes them want to invest in a relationship with you. For that reason, it should feel familiar and natural.
And if you’ve had an exhausting day, do you say you’re exhausted? Or are you absolutely pooped?
Adverbs – those little qualifiers we use every day to emphasise our feelings or emotions – are an easy way to bring out your brand tone and voice.
Adverbs like “totally”, “super”, or “damn” enhance a sentence in the exact same way. But they change its flavour entirely.
A brand with an irreverent personality might describe its product as “f*cking fabulous”. A high-end brand might consider it “utterly divine”. An Aussie brand might call its Australian-made product “a bloody ripper of a thing”.
Same meaning, completely different feel.
You might use super for a younger crowd or ultra for a male one. A bubbly tone might go for oh-so while a tongue-in-cheek and quirky brand could choose mucho or tres.
But as we distinguished above, tone is all about context. If your brand is apologising, are you likely to saying, “we’re f*cking sorry”. Sounds rather aggressive, wouldn’t you say? Meanwhile, “utterly sorry” sounds like you’re just making fun of your audience.
On the other hand, you might get away with, “well, that was a bloody ripper of a f*ck-up”. It’s comic while acknowledging the error, irreverent but blunt, reflecting the Australian personality as much as an Aussie brand.
So which adverb would your brand use?
The key here is to know the adjectives your target audience is already using. You could:
Analyse the language used in your customer reviews.
- Do an audience survey and ask them: “How would you describe our brand?”
- See how your audience interacts on social media.
As you research, note the language used by the audience and look for commonalities.
Still not entirely certain?
Take a look at the list of adverbs below and either circle the ones that absolutely fit with your brand or cross off those you know you’d never use.
Embrace the beauty of a distinct personality and stand out against the competition with an incredible brand voice and tone your fans will spot from a mile off. And please, share with us in the comments, what are your go-to adverbs?
|Amanda Bensted is a digital content creator and freelance copywriter and editor who goes weak at the knees at the sight of delicious branded copy. Amanda is the whiz behind Amanda Jane Copy, a freelance creative agency designed to help purpose-driven brands create content that fosters connections. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.|