Creating a tone of voice, the way a brand ‘speaks’ to its customers, is a concept that takes into account the words chosen by a firm to communicate to a target audience, along with the order, rhythm and pace applied to those words; it’s no simple task. But when done right, it’s a powerful accomplishment. Through the careful development of a tone of voice, a brand can ensure all of its content, including everything from social media to marketing and business information, expresses its core values and message.
Creating a tone of voice is not simply a matter of choosing between a formal or informal approach to content, but instead requires companies to construct a unique and distinctive voice of their own that sets them apart from their competition and appeals to the target audience. In this sense, tone of voice is about making a brand appear desirable, while also building trust between business and customer by using familiar language that an audience can grow to rely on.
Developing a Tone of Voice
The first step in developing a tone of voice is ensuring your business has strong values and clear objectives. By establishing the reasons your business was developed in the first place, as well as how your company differs from your competitors, you should be able to identify your brand’s personality. From there, it’s a matter of learning how to express this personality through vocabulary. This means choosing how to talk to customers and deciding whether you wish to embrace a chatty style or whether you require a more professional approach.
Expressing your brand’s personality also requires the careful use of colloquialisms and slang, which can be useful in the right situations but inappropriate when used by the wrong brand. It is this part of the tone of voice development process that is often the first to require the attention of a translator when a business chooses to expand overseas, mainly due to the large variance in commonly used and accepted slang across different languages. Any slang used by brands in their marketing campaigns should be stringently checked by translators before being transferred to foreign markets to ensure it’s translated into that area’s equivalent term and avoids any unintentional offence.
Adapting Tone of Voice to Different Cultures
Colloquialisms and slang words are an obvious first port-of-call when it comes to adapting tone of voice to suit different cultures, but the translation process should dig far deeper than individual words. When it comes to different cultures, both the overall personality of a brand and the tone set by a marketing campaign should be completely reviewed to ensure they respect the differing values and requirements between countries.
For example, the WPP BrandZ study revealed that many of the most successful brands in Korea, Japan and Taiwan associated themselves with the creative personality trait, whereas those in Australia, the US and the UK all portray themselves as being generous. By adapting a marketing campaign to portray a brand personality that takes into account the most desirable traits in each country, a brand can ensure it is equally successful across a diverse range of markets.
The same approach to the tone of an advertising campaign can also have a huge effect on the success of an expanding company in international markets. For example, WPP’s survey suggests that individualism is a dimension ingrained within UK culture, while Russian culture is more geared towards the community as a whole. This dramatic difference in cultural values means a UK marketing campaign focusing exclusively on the needs of close family is unlikely to be as successful within a Russian market, and vice versa.
The Importance of Professional Translation
The complexities and cultural minefields that dictate the success of international campaigns can leave some brand’s failing to hit to mark when they expand into overseas markets. However, with the help of a professional team of expert translators, UK businesses can embrace cultural differences as a means of infiltrating new countries effectively and successfully.
Unlike automated and online translation tools, professional translators are capable of adapting whole terms and phrases to culturally sensitive alternatives, rather than translating individual words. Experienced translators can also alter the way brands approach the vocalisation of their personality in order to suit cultural differences, while integrating colloquialisms as a means of reaching out to a new audience.
With the help of Bubbles Translation, your company can take advantage of our translators’ expertise to create or maintain brand identity while adapting your message to suit different target markets. Contact us today to begin expanding your company with the support of an experienced team tailored to your goals.