The distinction is important to make sure you’re achieving the aim of your communication, right?
Whether you’re annoyed (as per the example above), happy, sad or excited – if you want to get that across to your customers, then it’s important to have a tone of voice.
Because if you don't know your tone of voice, the one that resonates with your audience, then how do you know your identity and purpose?
It’s worth remembering that your identity isn’t about how you see your brand, but about how your audience sees your brand. If you believe that everything you do is geared around the customer (and many brands do) why wouldn’t you consider the best, most effective and clear way to talk to them?
WHY YOU NEED A TONE OF VOICE
Have you ever had a WhatsApp exchange get a bit ugly?
Let’s say it’s your partner’s turn to do the dishes and you’re having to remind them. You start out with well-meaning exclamation marks and smiley emojis and suddenly you’ve stopped using full stops and maybe even resorted to capitals TO MAKE YOUR POINT.
Your tone has changed.
A real-life example?
Monzo and Santander are banks. However, according to Wikipedia, Santander Group was founded in 1857 while Monzo are an online-only offering. Do you think their communications would be interchangeable?
Monzo use the rather lovely line; ‘help us build the kind of bank you want to use’ before prompting you to download their app.
If you saw that line on the Santander website, I don’t think it’s unfair to assume they’d want you to fill out a customer service survey – it's a great example of a corporate trying to be chatty. But teamed with Monzo, and their friendly, conversational tone of voice, it works.
From internal documents to your website’s landing page, if you were to look at your brand’s communications, do they sound like they come from the same voice?
Would your customers recognise it and take action? (Of course, I’m no stranger to a hearty comms audit, if you can’t face it.)
So, before you go telling your customers to ‘treat yo’self’ when you sell office supplies, have a think about your purpose, because communication without purpose is your brand throwing words at the wall and seeing what sticks.