(Header image via Game of Thrones Meets Seinfeld)
Tone of voice is a critical component of your brand. Your tone impacts every piece of communication you have with your customers. If it’s inconsistent or misaligned with your customers’ expectations it can destroy any chance you have of building a connection with them.
What’s interesting and challenging about tone is that we can usually feel when it resonates or not, but we can’t always articulate why.
With the help of a little structure though, it’s easy to create clear, shareable guidelines for your brand’s tone. This will mean that everything you and your team produce will feel more aligned. And if something is off, you’ll have a mechanism to discuss and provide constructive feedback.
If you need a little guidance with this, we developed two easy exercises to help brands define their tone of voice. You can read more about the process here.
To put the concept into action and show the power that tone has on your content, we’re going to do a quick experiment.
Game of Thrones’ Tone
Even if you’re not a fan, it’s impossible to escape the reach of Game of Thrones. Over 17 million people watched the premiere of the final season.
For those that haven’t seen it, here’s what the show’s tone of voice looks like using our Tone Dimensions exercise from the link above.
(Fans of the show can let me know if they agree or disagree with those values.)
Now imagine if there was a bizarro version of that tone that skewed the other way on those dimensions.
How weird would it feel? How confusing would it be for viewers when what they hear is so misaligned with the story and look of the show?
To highlight the effects of having the wrong tone, here are a few scenes from the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere. First you’ll get the tone using actual dialogue, then you’ll get the same scene with our bizarro tone.
NOTE: Very minor spoilers here if you’ve been busy or in a cave and haven’t watched the premiere yet.
Hopefully your brand’s tone won’t get off the rails quite this much. The point is that even if your communications are off on just one dimension, would you have an easy way to identify it?
And better yet, rather than waiting to react to problems, take some time to define your tone up front. Create your own guide to inform your content and help avoid those issues altogether.
Want More Help With Your Brand?
Check out the Map & Fire website to learn about The Brand Guidebook process or grab some brand and marketing strategy worksheets.