Tone is an important component of branding that can easily go awry. We think of branding as a way to define the uniqueness of a business, particularly in terms of attracting a target market. The brand is given a voice through tone. Elegant Eloquence Calligraphy and Curly Sue’s Curly Q Calligraphy offer the same services, and yet their names attract or detract potential clients. A customer needing handwritten invites to an exclusive business networking event is more likely to choose Elegant Eloquence Calligraphy than Curly Sue’s because the former has a professional tone. If Curly Sue wants to do baby announcements and other whimsical creations, her name is fine, but what if she wants to work with professionals? In that case, the tone created by her business name is out of line with her brand.

Tone misalignment is a common problem for businesses, particularly if they don’t have a well-defined brand or are trying to attract too many markets. The best way to avoid this problem is by determining the tone you want to project and the impression you want the market to have of your business during the branding process. As you develop your brand, consider how your image and message convey your brand and make sure they match. A dark-colored website sets an appropriate tone for selling zombie-survival equipment, but doesn’t work very well for selling daffodils. Saying you offer personalized service, and then having an automated customer service system is out of sync as well.

To develop your brand’s tone, you need to first know your value and uniqueness to the market, the market you want to attract and the words, colors and images that convey the message you want to use to attract your market. Tone isn’t just delivered through your name or web site design, it’s also conveyed through:

– Font and word choice
– Logos and graphics
– Color and design schemes
– Social media messages
– Customer service and emails

Everything you use to promote your business needs to be checked to make sure it’s in line with the impression you want customers to have. If your goal is to attract serious professionals, all your materials need to have a serious professional presentation. If your business is radical or goes against convention, then your materials might have an edgier tone.

Marketing is all about knowing your market, how your product or service will benefit the market, and then letting the market know you have a solution. Once you reach your market, you have only a few seconds to let it know you have the answer to its problem. Don’t inadvertently turn it away by having a tone that doesn’t match your brand image.


Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She speaks regularly on career-related topics including telecommuting and home business.