Like people, companies make impressions. And good impressions pave the way for solid business relationships.

At the most substantive level, how an organization behaves can make all the difference. Think of the oft-cited Tylenol poisoning scare in the 1980s. Johnson & Johnson, the drug's manufacturer, protected people first and its own brand second, halting all advertisements for the pain reliever and immediately recalling the product at a loss of more than $100 million dollars. Those were highly effective actions.

But how a company communicates, particularly in written form, is also key to the impression it makes. Does a hip, edgy fashion brand sound stuffy, flat, or—even worse—just plain stupid in its content? Does the promotional arm of a serious news organization sound glib, flighty, and uninformed?

Brand tone of voice is vital to expressing your brand identity.

The correct tone can help a company distinguish itself from competitors, reinforce the brand's personality, and underpin the brand's promise to its customers.

For instance, a toy company that focuses on educational products might want to adopt a somewhat formal tone, whereas one that focuses on novelty entertainment would benefit from a more casual, fun voice.

In addition to expressing your brand's personality, your tone of voice needs to be consistent: Whether a customer hears your ad on the radio, scans the About Us page on your website, or reads your blog, the same recognizable voice needs to come across loud and clear.

What Is Brand Tone of Voice?

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image of Anne Marie Kelly

Anne Marie Kelly is a strategic marketing and business development executive and the founder of Kelly Marketing Solutions. She has held senior positions at GfK, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

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