I wanted to give you some examples of tone of voice as a companion piece to my post on types of tone of voice.
In this post I’m highlighting some very different types to hopefully give you some inspiration and show how your tone of voice can be different, even if you are in the same industry.
I chose accountants as they get a pretty bad rep for communication generally.
I think sometimes this is fair, but there are some accountants out there that really spend a lot of time on their marketing and communication so I wanted to celebrate a couple here.
Crunch is an online accountancy practice that specialises in working with smaller businesses.
They get my vote because they have put a lot of effort into their marketing with a bright and cheery site, not too many long words and no jargon.
It’s easy to find what you want and understand the language when you get there.
Their tone of voice is cheery, helpful, friendly and is designed to give people a sense of an approachable business.
Deloitte is the other end of the scale entirely.
They work with very large companies and government departments and look how their use of language differs.
There’s a fair bit of corporate speak in there with words like ecosystem, illuminate, perspective, divestiture.
They are speaking in the way that their customers expect and the whole tone of voice in this example is designed to show that they are ultra professional and serious people.
Rolls Royce cars
Check out the Rolls Royce website for a great example of tone of voice.
RR have decided that less is definitely more and you’ll struggle to find much in the way of copy on the site.
Because it’s all about brand perception.
People who visit the site are looking for a dream car and frankly they don’t need you to tell them about MPG or CO2 emissions.
I love this site because of the minimalist approach they have taken, I just hope that the copywriter wasn’t paid by the word!
In contrast, Ford has taken the view that its customers need to know exactly how much value they are getting for their money.
There’s lots of information about the cars and it’s presented in an easy to read and accessible style.
This illustrates one of the things about tone of voice that many people forget. Sometimes it’s not about what you do say (Ford) but what you don’t say (RR).
In this example I wanted to show how the tone of voice can extend across a whole brand.
Virgin wines uses very youthful, fun, enjoyable language to entice the buyer into their club.
But it is interesting how the same tone of voice is used across the whole virgin brand from wines to mobile phones to airlines.
What is interesting is that not all of the virgin companies are still owned by the group but they continue to use the same type of tone of voice.
Even the main group websites uses the same tone of voice!
Berry Bros & Rudd
Berry Bros & Rudd are reputed to be the UK’s oldest wine merchant and their website is set up for serious wine buffs.
Sure they have selection cases just like Virgin, but the way they describe their wines is totally different.
You’ll find a lot more detailed information on the site too, as this is what serious wine people want and the language is more sober (if you’ll forgive the pun) and speaks to people who are often wanting wine as an investment and not for their Friday night dinner party.
Held up as a disruptor in the personal loans space in the UK I’ve always been impressed with the tone of voice that Amigo adopted.
Bear in mind that when they started out the loan market in the UK was pretty ‘fuddy duddy’ and the traditional banks spoke to people as though they were something that the cat dragged in.
Amigo pioneered the straight-talking, accessible language that we see on so many finance sites nowadays.
This is a good example because it shows how accessible language can be used to make complex subjects easy.
The site is professional but friendly and across the pages it makes it clear that borrowers can always call in and talk to a person.
Royal Bank of Scotland
RBS takes an entirely different approach.
No messing about trying to become your friend for these guys – they are right in there with the APR and their copy ‘above the fold’ reads like an extract from the little legal bit they have to put at the bottom of their print output.
I’ll be honest, I hate this.
OK so it is compliant with FCA regulations but guys, c’mon. It’s 2020.
Buy me a drink before you ask to take me home!
OK so I used this one in my post on types of tone of voice and I make no apologies for including it here.
Own up time: I worked at Lush in the early days and I remember how much effort went into developing the tone of voice and look of the site.
Personally I think they have got it spot on and not because I worked there. I’m most certainly not in their target demographic!
If you want to see a really individual tone of voice then check out their product descriptions or read their blog.
Ok so sometimes it’s not what you say it’s the way that you say it (see Rolls Royce) but sometimes…
When I started searching for examples of tone of voice I found some that I didn’t and YSl is in that category.
I’m including the YSL site here because it shows something really interesting.
On the corporate site YSL badges itself as ‘The most subversive Parisian luxury beauty brand’
However when you come to read the product descriptions they are anything but subversive.
In fact, it’s almost like someone forgot to tell the copywriter what tone of voice they were going for!
This is a good example of what not to do.
Don’t set out your stall as one thing and then choose a tone of voice that is completely at odds with your mission, goals or marketing themes.
Take a look at the wording below and think ‘subversive’. Not really is it?
Are subversive people really worried about the colour of the bottle that their Eau De Parfum arrives in?
In contrast I really like the site of UK High Street giant Boots.
OK so it’s not as funky as the Lush site but they are going for a different demographic (me maybe).
Their fragrance descriptions are well written, clear, accessible and enticing.
They are even formatted a little like wine descriptions.
Personally I think they have done a good job here and it shows how you can use different language in simple product descriptions to speak to your audience.
Examples of tone of voice – now find yours
So I’ve given you some examples of tone of voice to get you thinking about how different companies use language to communicate their brand values.
Some I liked and some I didn’t but what I think doesn’t matter.
It’s what your customers think that is important.
My best advice is to keep a note of sites you visit where you like how they communicate and then ask yourself whether that would work with your customers.
Then try it on for size.
Write some product descriptions or a blog post in that tone of voice and decide whether it fits or not.
Sometimes gut feeling is better than scientific analysis!
Give me a shout
If you’d like help developing your tone of voice then why not contact me by pressing the big blue button?