I recently attended the Trendigital Summit here in Sioux Falls and had the pleasure of sitting in on a great presentation about the Voice and Tone of a person or company’s brand. Sarah Rhea Werner,who was a fabulous speaker by the way, gave the presentation. She said the Voice is the representation of your brand and the Tone is the emotions elicited in others. Your Voice or Brand is all the physical aspects of a person or company; the Tone is the all the stuff you don’t see, the emotional interaction with your audience.

I am Nolan. My Voice is the way I look, sound when talking, how I answer the phone, my fabulous beard, all of my physical attributes that create my brand. My Tone is what elicits emotions from others. My Tone changes depending on whom I am addressing; my Tone is different with my wife than with my daughter or my clients. As Sarah put it, sometimes I’m happy Nolan; sometimes I’m angry Nolan. My Tone changes depending on my audience.

Your Voice should be consistent in all things; after all you have spent a lot of time and money forging your look. An example of drastically changing your Voice rather than just adjusting your Tone, in my opinion, would be Miley Cyrus. She spent all that time and effort in forging the Hannah Montana Voice but wanted to be seen as more edgy, more grown up. She could have adjusted her Tone but instead remade her Voice. When you choose to remake yourself over and over, your audience can become disinterested or confused. Which is what happened to some of her fans. Finding the right Tone for each audience is not easy. You have to think about what the audience wants and needs not necessarily what you want them to want and need.

You as a person (and company) have put a lot of effort into who you are. Now spend some time and find out who your audience feels you are and adjust your Tone to influence those feelings.