I have been thinking about share of voice, and the importance of tone (and tone-deafness), a lot recently. Now, more than ever, what and how brands communicate is inextricably linked to their voice share.
So it was interesting that when I started to seek content about share of voice/tone of voice, I hit a blank wall. I found a lot on how to grow share of voice, social, metrics and tools as epitomised by the social sprout piece below. It is undoubtedly useful as a 101, and explains what share of voice is and how to grow it for your business. But it does not explain why it is important, why getting it right (or wrong) can make (or break) a brand and why it is just as crucial to put time into establishing tone as it is to get that tone out there.
Measurement is, of course, important, we need to know our messages are landing and being seen. But, as a communications bod slightly obsessed with brand purpose, the written word and elegant campaigns, I like to know that our messages are resonating, and more critically, that they are resonating with the right people.
Fortunately, I get to work with brands to help them make sure they resonate. Often we are reshaping a brand's message and tone to match it to a new need (for a campaign, to help sales or engage with stakeholders), but I have been lucky enough on a few occasions to work with a brand from the 'blank sheet of paper' stage - to help them define who they are, how they want to be perceived, who they want to reach, and what they have to say.
Those jobs have been amongst the most rewarding in my career. To help a brand flesh out its being, taking it from a concept to something more concrete and focused is a huge responsibility, but also what we communications bods were built for.
Most recently I have worked with two brands to help them navigate their messaging and create a robust platform from which to tell their story.
- tripAbrood, which has just been recognised as a TechRound100 finalist ahead of its launch in a few weeks time, invested time and money into really understanding who it was and how it stood out. They did it as a very early startup, so the investment was real, but the rewards have also been real.
- Members of the UK Association For Science and Discovery Centres have been hit hard by the closures needed to comply with lockdown regulations. A workshop we ran with the membership gave birth to the #ScienceCentresForOurFuture campaign. Its clearly defined call to action, and focus on securing members' futures, has seen widespread coverage, involvement from eminent scientists and, as a result, has opened doors to key government departments. The early-stage deep dive into its core messages and a focus on a strong narrative have delivered dividends, as well as a campaign which has a life long into the future.
In both cases message, tone and story were clearly entwined with reach, and clear benefits ensued. The work has stood out not because of volume, but because of content.
As we move into our new future, as the world continues to shift around us, message and tonality are only going to become more important. Smart brands are working with communications experts (like my team at Flagship) to think about this now, to spend time crafting their story, focusing on who they want to appeal to and working out if and how they need to pivot their message.
Even smarter brands are doing that with authenticity, honesty and with purpose because those are the brands that will shine in the new era, achieving both reach and relevancy.
That, however, is a story for another day.
Start Increasing Your Share of Voice How much share of voice does your brand have in your industry? Do you lead the conversation, or blend in with the competition? Increase your market share and become the go-to brand in your industry by using the tactics above.