By Jacqueline Perrottet-Tels
The German car company, Audi, describes a brand as something which is “not a static structure but a living interface.” At Itani & Company, we share these sentiments and find that the best brands are the ones that have a personality and spirit. One of the most effective ways to do this is through a brand’s tonality- the what a brand says, and the how they say it.
A believable brand, one that consumers want to be part of, is reinforced by the way it communicates. Tonality is the guiding force for all communication both internally and externally. It is not only important to create the right tonality, but to commit to it so fully that it brings life to the brand.
There are many great examples of brands that have gotten it right, which sound exactly as you would expect them to sound, or that deepen your perception of the brand through their messaging. Yet, it is not an easy task to determine a brand’s tonality and takes a great deal of research and strategy. What works for one company will not necessarily work for another. The right tonality expresses a cohesive story guiding employees and attracting customers.
What is almost as important as determining the tone, is the ability to use it on various platforms and by different people, but still having it sound the same. We come across companies that use social media and knowing the people running the accounts, we hear a person’s voice as if they’re talking to us across a table. That’s ok if the person personifies the brand, however, most likely the brand will have unique characteristics and nuances that are important to commit to and reveal. A sarcastic brand might have a serious social media manager, but it is the word choice, grammar, punctuation, and style that the manager uses to ensure the brand’s voice shines through and not their own.
Now, where is a brand’s tonality, you might ask? It is everywhere. It is in the website, how employees talk to customers, how phones are answered, how campaigns are created. The tonality is the voice that the brand speaks. So, the next time you pick up the phone or answer an email, or when you are writing your away message as you go on holiday, think to yourself, does this represent the brand? Is it clear? Is it identifiable? And take notice of how other brands communicate too. You will quickly find out that you can learn as much about a brand by their style as you will by their words.