Perception of a voice – Branding dilemma

While I have worked with many publicly known brands, there has been one thing when it come brands that has always been an enigma for many brand people:

Tone-of-voice for the brand

How do you define your tone-of-voice and how do you make it stick and resonate true both internally and with your customers and potential ones?

Well… there are an ocean of experts on this topic and when you talk to marketing gurus, agency people and communication professionals you will get about as many answers as persons you talk to…

I have a few basic rules I go by and I will try to describe them below in short.

1. Think hard on what is really true about the product/service you market, add some characteristics that you strive for and really do everything you can to accomplish it.

Do not strive for what is ridiculous… Kia Cars will never be the “vibrant choice for car aficionados” or Choco Pop cereals will never be “the healthy option for kids on the move”…

2. You can never do it before you have your own company live the brand and by that I mean everyone from receptionist, service team, it, marketing&sales to the executive board.

A car company could have the best cars in the world but if their dealerships, customer service policies or warranty policies comes with surly staff, stupid public relation replies to complaints on faulty cars it will ruin your reputation fast… Look at Mercedes A-class or Toyota…

If you are a mass-market commodity like toothpaste you cannot all have shiny white teeth but you should at least think about what you communicate…

You should definitely not do a Bloomberg… (demand taxes on fat and sugar and then offer your employees free soda). Apple should not have staff that answer customers “you are holding the device in the wrong way” if you claim to have the best user experience on the market…

If you claim to be the industry leader in servicing your customers you really should give your staff a lot of leeway to make decisions on the fly when it comes to customer service issues and not have each claim to waltz five levels of hierarchy before a decision is made.

3. Constantly innovate and tweak your product, design and communication…

Look at CocaCola who has done it constantly over a very long time. They tweak here and there on design and wording of their communication but they never leave their basics.

Very basic rules and when they are in places the rest will come quite by itself to you with a little help of the professionals you hire to help out.


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