Is your tone of voice keeping up with the post COVID consumer?


Apr 07, 2021

by Rob L


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In past blogs we’ve explored how COVID has handed CMOs and brand marketers a rare opportunity to reset purpose statements. Re-stating purpose for a new world, and having your content live your purpose, will go a long way to forging connection with an audience, with purpose and social good becoming even more central to customer perception.

That said, if your tone of voice still sounds like 2019, your purpose might not have the support it needs.

Tone of voice needs a re-jig too

The words you choose, their formality or not, how short or long your sentence constructions are, the way your string them together grammatically - these all communicate something about what your brand stands for. They need to align with your purpose and “speak” to your customers and prospects, if you want to connect emotionally.

Here are 4 tonal things to check as you tread a confident path through 2021:

1.Do you still know your audience/s?

Attitudes and behaviours have changed since 2020 and vary across geographies. People are working differently, they think differently about spending and how they pay for things; some are more cautious, some are more optimistic.

Employees have new expectations of their employers especially around safety; citizens have new-found trust in institutions they’ve seen acting in their interests.

Some values may have become more important as a result of the pandemic, evident in the trend towards self improvement.

So do you know who your customers are and what matters to them in 2021? If not, now’s the time to find out, whether through your sales team’s conversations with customers, through audience research and surveys, or monitoring your social media and customer service interactions.

If you need inspiration for tone, check what content is popular for your audience, whether that’s on LinkedIn or Tiktok.

2.Does your tone of voice document reflect those customers?

Look at your tone of voice styleguide and check if it still rings true for the audience you’ve identified.

Should there perhaps be a more comforting tone in areas where there is still doubt and anxiety for your customers? Should you emphasis hope, in a time of economic recovery? Should you dial down the more strident persuasive sales talk? What does your audience need right now? What are they going to need in six months?

(And if you don’t have a tone of voice guide, it might be time to write one. Get in touch, we can help.)

3.Have you differentiated yourself?

No matter whether you’re a consumer brand aimed at teenage skaters or a global consultancy seeking C-suite eyeballs, you won’t be memorable in the mind of your audience if you sound like all your competitors.

Look at that tone of voice styleguide. Could it just as easily apply to most of your competitors? How could you tweak it so it’s unique, yet still true to your purpose? How do you bring more humanity and personality into your voice, so you’re remembered for all the right reasons?

4.Have you re-examined all your touchpoints?

COVID taught us all how to conduct vast chunks of our lives online, with apps, Zoom and bots now a fact of life. In 2020, we jumped ahead five years in consumer and business digital adoption in about 8 weeks and consumers have far greater expectations for brands’ digital capabilities. This acceleration of digitalisation brings so much potential for user journeys to be seamless.

But fast design and implementation sometimes means cutting corners. Check all those digital innovations you introduced so quickly during 2020 and check how they sound. Is there consistency across channels in language, tone, terminology?

Only if you express the same tone in every instance, can you build that familiarity, that persona that people recognise and come to trust.

While it doesn’t make sense to change your tone of voice for every crisis or economic hiccup, it doesn’t hurt to dig back into your purpose and decide how that is best served by the personality and syntax you’re using, at this moment in time.

3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about developing a tone of voice guide for your brand to better connect with your consumers  our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out more blogs here

Download our Free Content With Purpose Handbook


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