So here’s the scenario – you’ve had an issue with someone you work with, a colleague or maybe a supplier, and it really got under your skin. You need to vent, so you call your best friend and give her the run down.
Later, you’re speaking with another colleague and they ask about the situation; do you explain it, word-for-word, the same way you told your bestie about it?
It’s pretty likely that would NOT be appropriate.
When I speak with my girlfriends I’m WAY more prone to emotional, emotive, stream-of-consciousness blurting than I would be with someone I know in a professional context.
The information communicated can essentially be the same, but the delivery, the tone, the type of language used all change depending on whom you’re speaking with.
You’re still the same person, with the same personality, but there are different facets in the colour spectrum of how you express that depending on whom you’re speaking with.
The same can be applied to your communications as a brand, it’s what we refer to as Tone of Voice.
Here’s another question for you – ever had a conversation about your sex life with your Grandad?
Most likely not, because some conversations just aren’t appropriate for certain audiences, right?
When you talk about something girly with a male, it’s fairly likely they won’t have the frame of reference to really appreciate it in the same way as your girlfriends would. (Guys just can’t relate to that awesome moment when you get home at the end of the day and can take your bra off, but mention it to a girlfriend and you’ll see their eyes light up in mutual appreciation of the pure, blissful glory of that instant.)
Hopefully you’re starting to pick up what I’m putting down here. :)
As a socially aware human, we know how to change the delivery of what we’re saying depending on who we’re speaking with, and we know that some stuff just flat-out won’t resonate with particular audiences.
So how can you, as a brand, have a meaningful, targeted conversation with your audience in an appropriate tone of voice if you’re not really sure who you’re speaking with???
AWESOME question, I’m SO glad you asked :).
A ‘spray and pray’ approach – blasting bland, general messages and communications out into the atmosphere - is highly unlikely to find the mark, and even if it does for a little while, it’s not sustainable.
Back in my past life climbing the corporate ladder, I worked with a well-known Australian online brand. They started small, but took off like a rocket and grew super, super quickly.
When they started out, their idea of who their ideal customer was was ‘anyone over 18 with an internet connection’.
Ok, so that’s a bit of a general guideline, there are some qualifiers in there, and you don’t want to limit yourself if there’s broad potential appeal for your business, right?
Well, no, actually.
Because knowing who your ideal customer is, the people you’re trying to reach and engage with your communications, isn’t going to limit your growth.
What it will do is give you the ability to communicate in a specific, targeted way that will help you to create an engaged, personalised relationship with your audience.
Still need convincing?
The big Australian online brand I worked with, it hit a plateau; its ‘spray and pray’ communications weren’t resonating and weren’t delivering.
AND, because they didn’t know who they were trying to reach, they didn’t know which segment of the market they should focus in on – cue mild panic, big dollars and lots of tail chasing to get back to where they should have started, with their ideal customer.
Knowing your ideal customer is one of the foundation steps in strategic, targeted communications and it doesn’t have to take expensive research or lengthy focus groups to get started.
Get to know your ideal customer – step into their shoes and take a look around with my Fool Proof Process for Getting to Know your Ideal Customer – a 4 step guide that will help you get clear on who you’re trying to reach. It’s totally free, and all yours, just click on over to this link.
Once you know who your audience is you can then tailor your tone of voice and the themes and topics of your content to appeal directly with those people. Stay tuned for more on tone of voice coming up on the blog!
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