Amidst all the noise on the various digital platforms, how do you make your organization stand out and be heard? And once heard, how do you keep the attention of often very distracted users?
It all starts with your voice and tone. In this article, our experts will explain what these terms mean, why they are important and how to find your voice and adjust your tone.
What is an organization's voice and tone?
Voice, in marketing terms, is the personality of an organization or company. It’s the vehicle for your values and principles. One could even say that it’s the bearer of your social mission and of your purpose.
Tone refers to how you decide to communicate with your audiences. Here, the intent of the message and the choice of words come into play. What is the purpose of your communication and who are you addressing? Is your message to make your Facebook audience aware of your cause or to convert potential donors via email?
Unless your social mission changes, your voice will always remain the same, but your tone will adjust depending on the channel used and its audience.
To help you, think about your daily interactions. Do you address your friends in the same way as you do your colleagues, or do you write one message to your friends and the same to your boss? Tone is used to address these different situations.
Why is an organization's voice and tone so important?
Organizational voice and tone are critical because they enable you to:
- Stand out: there may be other organizations that serve the same social cause.Then, voice helps establish your unique value proposition, a concept we'll address below.
- Create emotional connections with your audiences: the new generation of donors (composed mainly of millennials) needs an emotional connection to interact with an organization. The right tone helps humanize your communications.
- Achieve your goals: messages personalized to your identity help create a memorable image of your organization. A visitor is more likely to interact with an organization that is familiar to him or her.
Now that you know the main advantages, the question to ask is: how do you find your voice?
How to find your voice and the appropriate tone?
To find the voice that best fits your organization, you will need to define three essential elements:
- Your social mission and values
- Your audience types
- The channels you use
Define your social mission and values
As an organization, your social mission must be clearly established. What is the societal problem you are trying to solve or what is your purpose? The answer should be obvious to you.
The most important thing is to define your unique value proposition, that element differentiating you from other organizations.
For example, your foundation helps sick children. There may already be several foundations with the same social mission: to help sick children. However, your foundation's fundraising is used to provide care in the home so that the child and his or her family don’t have to travel back and forth to the hospital. This is a unique value proposition that differentiates you from foundations that fundraise for hospital care only.
Then, your values are defined by your work approach, internal conditions and your organization's culture. To define them, analyze your existing content or ask your audiences: their outside perspective often paints a more accurate picture.
Define your audiences
The people your foundation wants to reach are not a homogeneous whole. These people make up several audiences that can be represented by personas. These personas mark out the way your organization can communicate with them, because in addition to demographic characteristics, a persona also defines:
- the goals
- the challenges
- the channels used
In general, young donors, such as millennials and Generation Z, interact with content that uses familiar language, including the use of cultural references or emojis.
70% of web users believe that emojis express emotions better than the simple use of words.
Define the channels used
As mentioned earlier, your tone will change from one channel to another, as the audiences will not be the same. After identifying your personas, you will know what type of audience is mostly found in each of your communication channels.
From these elements, you will be able to calibrate your tone to maximize the success of your goals.
For example, your tone on social media can be more familiar using GIFs and emojis, because your persona is young and requires an emotional connection to interact with your organization. And via email, your persona is seeking information and requires straightforward communications without the superfluity of social media. In both cases, even if the message is the same, your communications will be different.
Your organizational voice will become clear once your social mission and values are well defined. For tone, you need to know who you are addressing. You can use a different tone depending on the communication channel, as you will have different audiences.