How to Use Effective Tone in Advertising

Posted on Tue, January 05, 2016 in Digital Marketing, Business Operations, by Todd Werkhoven

Marketing and advertising are conversations that a company has with its audience. This conversation can take many forms and have many different end goals, but it all boils down to your business talking to your customers (and potential customers). And each company, just like each person, is a different entity, so honing in on who your company is and how it speaks to its marketing audience is a crucial aspect in creating effective, meaningful, and impactful marketing.

The tone, or “voice,” of your advertising is, to paraphrase many of our parents, not what you say, but how you say it. It is distilling your company’s vision and values into a set “personality” – whether that personality be a serious voice of authority and professionalism for a law firm, or a whimsical and fun tone for a toy shop. The tone of your marketing materials needs to match your company’s central mission, but it also needs to be employed cohesively across the board into all of your marketing materials, no matter what department or committee it originates from. Additionally, it has to speak directly and effectively to the needs of your specific audience; it needs to be said in a way that resonates and compels.

Finding the right tone of your business is critical. It will tell your audience everything they need to know about your company – who you are, how you conduct your business, how you view your customers, and more. Take Denny’s, the iconic American diner, for example. The somewhat nonsensical, rambling posts at @DennysDiner lack most semblances of capitalization, grammar, or punctuation, but it speaks directly and perfectly to their core audience of “munchy” midnight patrons.

The tone of their marketing is different than, say, @Applebees, whose posts generally contain coupon deals or customer’s retweeted pictures, and are intended for a suburban family audience. The tone tells you everything about their business and their intended target customers.

So how do you find your company’s tone? A simple way is to compile a list of “character traits” your business would have if it were a person. Is it an older, reliable person? Young and hip? Casual? Unshakably professional? What does he or she sound like? How would they talk or interact to your customers? Creating a persona for your business can not only help you nail down the tone for your marketing, but it will also be a indispensable in- company tool across departments so that the voice and tone remains on-target and consistent.

Determining and implementing the tone and voice of your marketing is key. It will define who your business is to people who may have no other knowledge or interaction with it. It tells them who you are, and how you can directly impact them. It’s choosing words, phrases, information, and graphics that are clear and impactful – and most importantly consistent to your business’s mission and goals.

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