Tone is more than skin deep

One of the reasons so many corporations struggle with tone is that the relationship they have with their customers isn’t consistent with the tone they chosen for their brand. If a utility company is essentially a government monopoly they aren’t really a service talking to customers at all, they’re an authority managing subjects.

And because relationship defines tone, the authority mind-set drives the written style of the communications, no matter how many well oiled pleasantries are copy pasted from out of the brand guidelines book. In other words the true tone will out, because it’s a reflection of the true relationship that exists.

Ultimately the attempt to fix the tone will involve changing the behaviour of the organisation, which will have to find another narrative and create change. This is how some of the themes we discuss link together. Tone and relationship are inseparable concepts.