How to nail your tone-of-voice – and create truly recognisable brand content

Think you know the failsafe recipe for great brand content? If it simplifies a key challenge for your audience, provides truly unique insights, is written with exceptional clarity and is visually capturing, you’ve hit the brief. Right?


All of the above are important ingredients, without a doubt. But your content marketing mix is held together by something greater than the sum of all of these parts – your brand’s tone of voice.

“Another ad for our oat drink providing no reason at all why you should try it.”

There’s only one oat milk brand this copy could possibly come from – and chances are you’ve recognised it straight away, whether you like it or not. Oatly have even taken things a step further and set up the FckOatly site as a home for comms around the lawsuits, complaints and challenges the brand faces. Ballsy, experimental and transparent, we love it.

What about this one? “Yesterday, you said tomorrow…”. Yes, we see you, hastily lacing up your trainers as once again, the swoosh and its inspirational, aspirational tone has convinced you to just do it.

Whether your brand strives to stay passionate, nonchalant, authoritative or inspiring – find your lane and stay in it. A strong tone of voice feels recognisable and consistent to your customer. Consistency over time = increased brand awareness and deeper consumer trust.

But how to develop and establish this individual brand voice? Well, it takes teamwork, persistence and starts with a few key questions. Here, we’ve picked our top 4 to answer with your team – and set you well on your way to a firmly discernible brand voice. Get everyone on the same page and ensure you communicate clearly and loudly with your audience.

1. Why do we exist? Hint; this is a one line statement about the customer problems that your brand solves day in, day out.

2. What is our brand persona? Is your company the hero, boldly swooping in to inspire and change lives for the better, à la Nike? Or does your business provide pure enjoyment, via the jester role (think: M&Ms)? The better you know your nature, the better you can apply this to all communications – and ensure your whole team does, too. 

3. Where do we sit on the scale of…

Humour: Funny, or serious? Formality: Formal, or friendly? Respect: Sassy, or ultra respectful?  Enthusiasm: Pure passion, or more matter-of-fact?

Chances are, for most of these you’ll be somewhere in the middle rather than at either extreme. Knowing where you stand in these areas makes it surprisingly straightforward to hit the right tone, so that you can focus on pushing the creative boundaries of your content!

4. What are our language “don’ts”? Establish these first, and the “dos” will reveal themselves more easily. For example:

We don’t say We do say
Avoid using masculine pronouns or nouns for mixed-gender groups.
  • Hello guys
  • Fireman
  • Air hostess
  • This task required a huge amount of manpower.
  • Hello everyone
  • Firefighter
  • Flight attendant
  • This task required many members of our workforce.

Set it out within your key messaging document or brand guidelines and watch as colleagues, partners and contributors all sing beautifully from the same proverbial hymn sheet.

In a nutshell?

Make space. Space for the team to come together and reflect on the tone of voice you want to take with your customers. Space for this to evolve over time. A physical space where all of this is recorded, reviewed and updated on the regular. 

We’re here to help you do just that. Get in touch and find out how a Contented Agency key messaging and tone of voice workshop could accelerate your brand voice development and content strategy. We’re ready to talk!

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