Setting the tone for the future:
When we talk about tone of voice, it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Throughout media history, the voices we hear in broadcast have evolved to become all the more authentic. Yet in today’s fragmented and distrustful marketplace, it’s vital for businesses to adopt a consistent and authentic voice across all platforms – which is why the future of content is tone.
A century ago, Received Pronunciation (RP) ruled the airwaves. Also known as ‘The Queen’s English’ or ‘BBC English’, the accent reflected social status and was synonymous with newsreaders, the establishment and elite of British society. Similarly, the US equivalent, General American, was typically associated with North American radio and television announcers. Yet today, RP is spoken by just 2% of the UK population, whilst General American is vastly outdated. The demise of both accents is primarily down to their lack of authenticity, as the tone of voice does not represent their wider audiences.
Consumers crave genuine and relatable content, and undoubtedly one of the purest forms is the podcast – a platform where authentic, honest and relatable voices rule. According to Reuters, “What distinguishes radio from TV is intimacy”, and a podcast takes this to another level: it’s “Intimacy-Plus”. An ideal commuter companion and a sensational story-teller, the podcast has become an unstoppable force with listenership growing by more than 50% in the last year. In the UK, ‘The True Geordie Podcast’ and ‘The Chris and Rosie Ramsey Podcast’ have both topped the iTunes chart with distinctive, down-to-earth Geordie dialects, whilst in the States, Trevor Noah adopts a story-telling quality to challenge himself and listeners to celebrate the contradictions of the modern world – resulting in a thoroughly engaging, captivating and above all, honest conversation.
If you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account or a YouTube channel, then you already have your own exclusive tone of voice. In the past, we were all consumers – now, we’re content creators – so it’s an even bigger challenge for audiences to find value in a world of endless content. To spark a successful conversation with consumers, brands need to find their own niche. Consumers are driven by emotion, so it makes sense for brands to unlock their emotional element too. Two businesses that have effectively displayed human characteristics are Innocent Drinks and American cloud-based company, Slack. With extraordinarily witty, informal and playful copy, both brands have embraced the new age of brevity in language – unearthing their own distinctive personality.
Tone of voice is nothing new – it’s been around since brands first put pen to paper. But amidst our ever-growing, crowded marketing landscape, it’s increasingly difficult for businesses to get their voice heard. To cut through the noise, it takes authenticity, personality and a strong identity – qualities PHMG have given more than 36,000 clients across the world. By uniting a company’s tone across all platforms, we deliver branding that speaks volumes.