Tone of voice. Some brands get it right, some brands get it wrong and some brands just don’t give a ….
The Newcastle Brown Ale brand personality is brutally honest and refreshingly straight talking. It is, in its own words, “no bollocks.” And this theme runs all across their communications from their Youtube channel with its message:“the more you watch these videos, the less we need to pay to run them on tv” to its ballsy twitter account:
“We’re also pleased to announce that #Newcastle is the official beer of all the people who have to deal with the #RoyalBaby. #NoBollocks”
Similarly, Irn Bru’s tone of voice is cheeky, laid back and a little bit naughty. They’ve taken the humorous approach. And it works.
Take a quick glance down their Twitter page and you’ll see what I mean. What they say and how they say it makes the reader imagine a forthright, bollshy Scottish man who says exactly what he thinks. And that personality creates a brand that the customer not only likes but also trusts.
Get the voice right and you are communicating with your customers and with anyone who comes into contact with your brand in the most natural way we know. In a way that a colour palette or typeface could never fully communicate. But also in a way that complements visual communication to create a personality.
One thing’s for sure though you can’t fake it. Your brand’s personality needs to be genuine, developed from experience, history and culture. If it’s not, customers can smell it a mile off.
This voice needs to run through every part of a brand not just the top layer, from HR to recruitment to contracts. This is often where brands fall down as they seem to lose their personality when it comes to the more “formal” types of communication. B&Q for example has a friendly and casual tone of voice especially on Twitter, but when customers tweet a problem B&Q’s response is suddenly signed off with “kind regards”- you’ve got 140 characters to play with on Twitter don’t waste them on “kind regards.” Their response is inconsistent with B&Q’s personality and this can lead to confusion. If one of your friends continuously flitted between grave sincerity to carefree playfulness, you would be worried for their health. The same goes for brands. B&Q should still deal with problems with sincerity but keep its personality at the core of all communications. The solution is simply dialling up or dialling down tone of voice depending on audience and context.
This really is an inside-out process. Your staff need to live and breathe the brand’s personality through its tone of voice in order for it to be presented across all communications. Establishing who you are from the word go means you could attract the ideal client, recruit the perfect member of staff or even hire the right accountant because they get you. What have you got to lose?