By Joanna Perry | Head of Marketing

The value of on-brand communications and a consistent tone of voice is no secret. As highlighted in IBM’s The State of Marketing 2013 report, a poor customer experience costs companies dearly whereas those companies that have nailed a consistent, relevant and positive customer experience across channels are reaping the rewards.

One sure-fire way to inspire and encourage brand loyalty and customer trust is to develop and implement an efficient, integrated communication strategy across all channels. Of course, while having a multitude of platforms available to promote and sell our wares presents a positive (and lucrative) opportunity, it is also incredibly challenging, both strategically and creatively, and therefore requires careful thought, time and planning.

Tailor-made tone of voice

Copy for a print ad can’t just be re-used and stuck on a social media page or blog; customers are far savvier than that. They appreciate content that’s interesting, valuable and written for them. So it’s important to tailor your content to suit each channel. In some cases it might be a slight tweak, in others it may mean a complete re-write. Just like mobile sites need to be designed to suit the mobile platform, attention needs to be paid to the words that sell to suit the platform in question. The key is to ensure the brand message remains consistent otherwise you run the risk of confusing, or worse still, alienating customers. You need to imagine an invisible thread tying together all your written communication material; from email newsletters and blogs, to order confirmation emails and delivery slips that arrive with parcels. Think effortless; make the customer journey as pleasant and as smooth as possible. No one appreciates a bumpy ride.

Sing from the same hymn book

The best way to guarantee a tone of voice that flows seamlessly is to employ a copywriter or team of writers that will work across channels on every piece of communication you send out. Failing that, create a ‘copywriting brand-style bible’ with guidelines on customer profile (helps to know who we’re talking to), tone of voice, language and style, including words that encapsulate your brand identity and those that don’t. Also include examples of brands that have a tone of voice and brand identity you love, as well as examples of those you’re not so keen on.

Here we’ve cherry picked a handful of retailers that we think are flying the flag with finesse when it comes to on-brand, consistent communications across channels;

Ocado - below are examples of emails, delivery notification texts and their homepage. Its value proposition is clear, and the tone of voice brilliantly consistent.

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Boden - with examples from its emails and homepage, Boden’s print communications also provide a seamless experience for the customer. Whether browsing online or flicking through its mail order book, the tone of voice is undoubtedly “Boden”.

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

J Crew – provides examples of well written, concise emails and a consistent approach to its homepage.

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Feather & Black – its emails, website and print material all flow beautifully in terms of design and tone of voice.

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

The White Company - again, its emails, website and print material share a consistent and unmistakable brand identity.

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Customer communications – why a consistent tone of voice matters

Each of the above retailers has very strong brand communications, their value proposition is clear and the tone of voice used across all channels is consistent yet relevant for the medium in question. We hope this provides inspiration as you harmonise the tone of voice of your own customer communications.

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