Category Archives: Branding

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Tone of voice….and how to find yours

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Have you ever seen footage of BBC television programmes from the 1920’s? If you have you’ll remember the tone of voice was very specific – posh, plummy English was the only tone of voice allowed!

Things have moved on a bit since then and you’ll now find a huge range of voices on television and radio, but tone of voice also applies when you are writing a social media post or blog or even presenting a visual image to a prospective customer.

The most important thing about tone of voice is to get the right one for your audience. Cillit Bang is well known for Barry Scott’s loud, brash tone of voice and their catchphrase ‘Bang! And the dirt is gone’ – it works for them, but if Johnsons Baby products were to adopt the same tone it would be very jarring.

So how do you find your tone of voice? The best place to start is with the definition of your target audience and of course your brand’s unique selling points.

If your brand is knowledgeable and trustworthy and your clients are serious business people, then your tone of voice needs to be serious, weighty and reassuring, and certainly not silly, funny or flighty. However if your target audience is students and your brand is fun and recreational then you definitely SHOULD have a light and amusing tone. It will be fine for you to use emojis and LMFAO!

The same technique can be applied to choosing an image, fun, cartoony images are fine for fun brands, but serious subjects need a more careful approach. Just because you like little cartoons and use them in your personal Facebook posts, doesn’t mean they are appropriate for your business communications.

The final thing to remember about tone of voice is consistency. We all get very used to a certain tone of voice from our favourite brands and any deviation from that tone, even the use of ‘I’ instead of ‘we’ when talking about your work or achievements can be very strange.

Once you have found your tone of voice you can employ it in all your marketing; brochures, social media, website, email newsletters and even your actual conversations with clients.


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New Year, New Logo?

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Last week one of my clients has approached me with the following query; “over the festive break one of my friends mentioned that I’ve had the same logo for my company for many years and wasn’t it time for a change….should I change my logo?”

We had a good chat about it and they’ve decided it’s not time for a change, but it led me to thinking….when should you change your logo?

Your logo is your key communication tool, it should feature in every piece of marketing you produce, as well as all your communications with your clients and suppliers. Any change needs careful consideration as it can really affect how your audience perceives your company. Your audience will come to recognise your brand and changing it can mean your clients no longer identify with your organisation. Change can be good, but it can also be negative.

Remember these companies that changed their logo for the worse…


GAP’s 2010 rebrand is renowned for being withdrawn just 1 week after it was launched. The new logo was accused of being “cheap, tacky and ordinary”. Not the way GAP clothing wants to be thought of.

From a classic to logo that speaks of history and credibility Oxford Dictionaries, in an effort to look modern and cool, ended up with a logo that looks like a cross between Beats by Dre and Twitter – not cool!

Another failed example of an attempt to modernize, Black & Decker moved from a logo that feels like a stamp of approval and quality to a generic logo that reads like Black Plus Decker

Although a relatively young company Air BnB’s growth had been such that they felt a rebrand was in order. The new icon is supposed to be ‘the universal symbol of belonging’ unfortunately it actually looks a bit rude! Whoops!

So having seen where some big brands tried and failed – what would be a good reason for  rebrand?

A change in business ownership

A merger or acquisition often results in a rebrand. The aim is to make the change visible to the public, but it could also form part of the legal requirements of the change. It is essential in these circumstances to ensure that the qualities and personality of the original business are maintained to avoid losing the value of the merger or acquisition.

A change of product or service

Often called Respositioning, if your businesses offering has changed then a rebrand may be in order. Your business may have evolved naturally over time to offer different things or you may have made a strategic decision to change your specialisation. Either way it is very important that your brand accurately reflects your offer.

A change of market

Markets are always changing and growing and it is important that your business is aware of and reacts to changes in the marketplace. It may also be that you have pinpointed a new or growing market for your business and you wish to target this new audience. Getting your brand right here will be essential.

Internationalisation

If your business is embracing internationalisation then a rebrand may be essential. As well as changing your logo you may need to consider a name change, as your name may have the wrong associations in other countries. Rebranding in this case needs some serious research into your new territories.

An outdated image

Although, as we saw above, this can be a dangerous reason to rebrand and can often lead to more harm than good, it can also be crucial. However it is very important to assess your target market accurately before making any changes. If your market hasn’t changed, then your brand probably doesn’t need to either.

So think carefully before you throw the baby out with the bath water….