Welcome to the second edition to my series on developing a company’s voice and tone. Part one of this series focused on the targeting of audiences and understanding the functionality of a business’ voice and tone. In order to get a complete understanding of this topic, I encourage you to read my previous blog, “Creating a Voice – Part One.”
If you’re ready to take the next step in your business’ audience, tone, and voice, allow me to introduce part two. The next step to defining your business’ voice and tone is a combination of experimentation and research. In part two, we’ll focus on specific questions and exercises geared to help find the message your business is trying to say. Let’s begin.
In part one, we compared a business’ voice to a person’s personality. Different people have different morals, characteristics, and behaviors; a business has its own personality as well. In order to figure out exactly what that is, we need to take a step back and look at the functionality of the business’ services.
I will use part one’s example, Home Furniture Store, to provide sample answers for the questions below.
What are all the services that your business provides to your customers, and how would you rank these services to one another?
- Selling new and refurbished home furniture
- Delivery and set-up services
- Offer furniture repair services
- Offer expert home design services
- Selling assorted home décor and accessories
This question accomplished a couple different tasks that are helpful when developing a voice. First, when a business owner ranks their services, it forces them to decide which services they deem most effective and fundamental to the company. Second, it established a base ideology for services the company is known or would like to be known for.
When your business starts each day, what is the main goal you are trying to accomplish? Or, give an example of a successful day for your business.
Most importantly, our Home Furniture Store is selling furniture. A successful day for our company would be to sell multiple pieces of furniture.
This question can seem simple and trivial, but once we take a closer look, the answer reveals important factors we can use to define our voice. The answer may be simple, but it forces the business owner to outline the direction of the company. This is the service they want to see take place daily.
Which service are you most excited about?
Our Home Furniture Store has the knowledge and capability to repair any damaged piece of furniture our customers bring us.
The answer to this question is important. Here, we find that our business owner is most excited about their furniture repair service. If we look back at question one, this service was #3 on the ranking of services. This question could possible bring attention to a service that was perhaps not thought to be important, but could now move up the list.
What is the differentiator? Or, what can your business do that competitors cannot?
We have all the necessary service to supply and fix any problem our customers may have. Our services are specifically designed to provide the best customer experience. Even though our competitors may offer one or two of our services, the combination of all our services guarantees that Home Furniture Store customers won’t have to jump around to get what they need done.
This question defines the differentiator. This is was sets you apart from your competitors and could possibly be a business moto.
After answering these four questions, we can say that our Home Furniture Store sets out to sell quality furniture to customers. We are excited about our ability to repair any damaged furniture for our customers. And, we believe in providing our customers with a single store that can provide the solutions to any empty room or damaged cushion.
The business’ tone is a reflection of its voice or personality. Now that we have established voice, we can implement different tones to connect with our different audiences while ultimately maintaining our voice. A great exercise for practicing tone is understanding when to use humor. Which editorials allow for more humor, and what is acceptable humor?
Let’s practice with social media. Tweets are a great way to practice humor. Their 140 character limit force businesses to be concise with their message, while at the same time, Twitter allows for different levels of humor depending your company views.
I will present three different tweets, all with different kinds of humor. Afterwards, we will decide which reflects our Home Furniture Store voice the best.
Our Home Furniture Store provides everything you need to make your home beautiful. From delivery to repairs, we can help #HomeFurnitureStore
Want your home to look like it belongs on the cover of a Home and Garden Magazine? We have the furniture and expert design advice to help #HFS
The couch has stains! The table’s leg is broke… get them fixed at our Home Furniture Store! We are the greatest store ever! #bestofthebest
If we look at the first tweet, we can see that it is formal, to the point, and contains no humor. Tweet #2 contains some humor, but also introduces “HFS.” Acronyms are important for businesses to consider. How do you feel about abbreviating your businesses name? Tweet #3 may be funny, but could possibly be over-the-top for the business owner. Providing a business owner with examples like these can narrow done acceptable tones. Use this example with different editorials such as customer letters, blogs topics, or newsletters.
It is important to realize that a company’s voice and tone will evolve with the company. Growth will change the audience and could change the tone. Adding or subtracting services could possibly change the company voice depending on how it fits in the company’s structure. These questions and exercises are only a few examples of voice and tone development techniques. However, the importance of defining voice and tone will remain a vital part of any businesses’ future.