The business case for tone of voice

Let's face facts: sometimes, tone of voice is a really hard sell. The people making financial decisions in an organisation don't always see its value, and it can be hard to convince them to invest time and money in something they see as non-essential. Particularly right now when time is tight and marketing budgets are lean.

I think this is a big mistake. And when done well, tone of voice is a valuable, worthwhile investment with impressive returns. Watch along below to hear me lay out my case.


Hi there, welcome to episode two of brand voice notes. I'm so pleased you’ve joined me. 

If you're new here, my name is Felicity Wild, and I'm a brand voice and messaging specialist. And today I want to talk about the business case for tone of voice. 

Because let's face it, sometimes it’s kind of a hard sell. 

Often the people making financial decisions in organisations don't really get it — they don't necessarily see the value in tone of voice. They view it as a fluffy, nice to have thing that maybe they'll spend time or money on if they have any to spare. But nobody has spare time or money these days. So it's pushed to the side, put to the bottom of a to-do list and forgotten about.

And I think this is a really big mistake. 

Because I feel it's a really valuable, worthwhile investment that can have some pretty impressive returns if it's done well. So that's what I wanted to talk to you about today — my thinking around this and how I frame my argument for the value of tone of voice for businesses. 

I think this will be really helpful if you work in house and you're trying to get buy-in from senior leaders to do tone of voice work. But like I've described, they may be sceptical about it — they don't really think it's something they should be spending money on right now. 

I think it'll also help you if you're a freelance copywriter, and you offer tone of voice as a service or you want to offer it as a service. This will help you find the value of what you do and address potential client objections, which is always a good thing. 

When we're thinking about the value of tone of voice, or the potential returns on investment of doing this sort of work, I think it's really easy to quickly get caught up in quite complicated arguments about making emotional connections with customers and demonstrating brand value. All that touchy feely stuff. 

I know it's true. And you know it's true. But if you're speaking to someone who's sceptical about the value of tone of voice, I don't think it's very convincing. I think it's pretty easy for them to brush it off and say: “so what?” 

I think a better tactic is to keep it really simple. And at its simplest, this is how I look at the value of tone of voice. 

If you do tone of voice work and put together a really good guide, it saves you time, it improves consistency, and it results in better quality copy.

We're going to look at each of these points in a bit more detail. But at its simplest, this is really how I think of it. 

So starting with saving time, I think this is sometimes brushed over or not really given much attention. But actually, if you're speaking to someone who's sceptical about the value of doing tone of voice work, this is pretty convincing. And it's easy to understand. So I think it's worth considering in more detail. 

Essentially, when you have a really good tone of voice guide, it saves you time because it takes the guesswork out of writing copy for your brand. 

You're not starting from scratch each time, you've already done all that foundational thinking and it's set in stone. You're less likely to have writer's block because you're not staring at an empty page each time — you have ideas there that are ready to go.


When you write copy for your brand, or your team writes copy or external contractors write copy, you will have fewer rounds of edits and more effective feedback with a good guide because you have a benchmark for everyone to aim for. 

You already know what good looks like so it's easier to get there. 

You'll also get new hires up to speed quickly, because somebody new is not trying to work out what you want, you can show them what you want. And they can start producing work that you can use much quicker. 

It's also easier and faster to brief external creatives like freelancers, or agencies, because you have the guide there, and you give it to them, you can show them what you want, and they can get on with the work. 

So if we all agree that time equals money, then having a good tone of voice guide is a really valuable thing. 

The next point is improving consistency. 

And it improves consistency, because everyone is on the same page about what you say and how to say it when you write for your brand. 

And this consistency builds trust and credibility, and it also boosts brand recognition. The best example of this, I think, is Marmite. They have been saying the same thing in the same way for years and years and years. And we all know who they are. We all know what they do. We know what they're about. 

So it's kind of the magic formula. If you have a decent product or service, you have good brand trust and good brand recognition, amazing things start to happen. You get more leads, you get more sales, you get higher conversions — it’s really what you're aiming for. 

And it doesn't just stop at the point of sale. If you have a tone of voice that you apply consistently throughout the customer journey, it makes a better experience for the customer and they're more likely to be loyal and come back again. 

So all the good stuff basically. 

And then the third point: a tone of voice guide obviously helps you write better copy. 

It helps you clearly communicate your difference. Now this is an important point that we'll cover in more detail in another episode. Your tone of voice is not a differentiating factor. It helps you to clearly communicate your difference in a way that makes the right people care.

That’s important and we’ll talk about that more in detail later. 

It also means the copy that you write resonates with your target audience because when you do tone of voice work right, you spend a lot of time thinking about your target audience. Doing like voice of customer research, all of that. So that the copy you write, targets your audience, it appeals to them, it speaks to their needs and their wants, which is all good. 

It also means your copy is aligned to your visual branding to build a cohesive identity. That's one of the core parts of doing tone of voice work. 

And having a good tone of voice guide also helps you be more creative. I think it's counterintuitive, and some people think that having a prescriptive guide is limiting. But actually, there's loads of research that shows that limitations are needed for creativity. Endless possibilities actually don't really help creativity — you need boundaries, you need limitations, to do really good creative work. 

To sum up, the value of tone of voice and having a really good tone of voice guide: it saves you time, it improves consistency, and it means better quality copy. 

Thank you so much for listening. If you have any questions or you want to chat, there's my contact details and you can also follow me on social media. 

Thank you so much for joining me and next time (in two weeks), we're going to be looking at the three biggest tone of voice mistakes. Thank you!