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  • Lucien Bigois

“Did they… actually tweet that? WOW.”

That was the reaction of one of our clients during a tone-of-voice workshop we ran early this year.

The tweet in question? Here it is:

Why would we show this tweet to one of our clients? Because one of the objectives of the workshop was to establish boundaries for the client’s own content and to do so we needed to gauge their reaction to various examples of content.

Your digital tone of voice is critical when it comes to driving successful channels. Your content might be fantastic, resized in all the right formats for your various channels, have all recommended features such as subtitles … but if you are not using the right vocabulary, memes and visuals for your audience, your content will never reach them. Well, it might once. But they won’t engage with it. And that will be the end of it.

Our session, and more globally our work on tone of voice and positioning, makes use of a very simple rule: know who you are targeting, produce content which will interest them, and serve it to them on the right platforms, at the right time, using the right assets. Simple you say?

Well first, you need to know your audience. Not all brands truly do. Real audience analysis takes time. Some surface audience research could suffice if you’ve been running your channels for a while and are truly confident you know who you are talking to on a daily basis, or should be talking to. Even then, a proper, thorough analysis is still recommended every year or so at least. 

When you are launching a new entity, it can be difficult to know where to look, as digital and non-digital audiences might be completely different, event for the same product.

At Seven League, we carried out this research on behalf of our client, based on their initial assessment of the audience demographics. We then created sessions within the workshop, where we asked them to place relevant brands and publications on a barometer for various settings such as “Humour”, “Formality”, “Authority”. These are just some settings we decided to go for, but we could have gone for others depending on the client.

This helped them understand that even similar brands can use their digital assets to communicate in very different ways. But it also helped us gauge and assess how far we could take some of the future content.

We then presented real examples of content posted on channels, matching the various keywords for their audience.

Some good, some bad. Tone of voice is a fine line.

The two posts above couldn’t be more different on paper. Yet, they represent both ends of the #MondayMotivation spectrum. One clearly aimed at teenagers, consuming memes, self-deprecating and humorous images. The other aimed at a band’s core and slightly older, inspirational-seeking fanbase. Same content format, completely different content. 

Based on this reaction, we were quickly able to establish that our humour cursor for this project would never be at the extreme end of the scale.

Not that we thought it would, or even suggested it should. But showing this particular tweet early in the session, and establishing that the client saw it as being on the end of the scale, helped us define what three-quarters along that scale looked like for the project.

If you are looking for ways to better align your brand to your tone of voice and content strategy, we’d love to speak further.

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