Action speak louder than words has never been truer in marketing than it is right now. As Marketers we all got very excited about ‘tone of voice’. We deliberated about what tone would truly represent the brand, could we be a little bit cheeky? After all, this was a new digital age and it made us all feel a bit younger. For a while.
A cheeky, sassy tone of voice crept into the Facebook posts and tweets of many a large blue chip, almost nauseatingly so. (A few lols and rofls may have even made a brief but embarrassing appearance). Customers started to see through the clever copywriting and suddenly the ‘tone of voice’ started to sound a little off kilter, and didn’t resonate with how consumers perceived the brand.
So we all began talking about ‘authenticity’. How could we make the brand ‘sound’ more authentic? How would we communicate with customers so that they started to like the sound of our voices? How could we make our voices more distinctive than our competitors? How would we ensure consistency in our voice across all the different marketing platforms when different people or companies managed each channel?
‘Tone of voice’ is still doing the rounds. It rolls off the tongue of digital agencies and one-man consultancies alike on a daily basis. Why yes, I hold my hands up, we even prattled on about it ourselves for a while. What we forgot (but your customers didn’t) for just a short while, was that actions speak louder than words.
Customers don’t want to hear how seriously you take customer service. They don’t want to be told how groovy, and amazeballs your X, Y or Z is. They want you to live it. They want to experience it for themselves, and they want you to do what you say you’re going to do. They hate being lied to, they want you to be more open and honest in your communications.
Which means that this is not a challenge for the marketing department, or your agency. This now concerns every single department, every member of staff and every nook and cranny of your business. You need to act with integrity, communicate honestly and have a purpose. Stand for something. And make sure every employee from the CEO to the cleaner knows what that is.
As an agency, we can give you a great ‘voice’. We can write the brand story and put it in front of thousands of potential customers. But we can’t control the rude member of staff, the unkept promise or the aggressive sales pitch.
All fur coat and no knickers, is how my Nan would’ve put it. Looks great on top, but when you investigate a bit further. Oops.
You will be defined by what you do, not by what you say. And the companies that get it right, will be the ones we’re still talking about in 2025.