It took Kevin Lynch twenty-four years and six separate positions to reach the role of CTO for Apple. Perhaps most impressive, however, is the way in which he is now able to take to the stage at the company’s largest events in order to talk excitedly about new product features.
Lynch is, first and foremost, a tech guy, but he has clearly spent a great deal of time working on the way in which he carries himself in front of large groups of people. For someone who probably didn’t grow up wanting to be front and centre or thrust into a spotlight on the world stage, Lynch has proved that any of us can take our careers and businesses onto heights we may otherwise have dismissed as being unreachable.
One of the most important elements people like Lynch will have worked on is their tone of voice. This is something that extends far beyond individuals, too; tone of voice is one of the most important aspects of every successful business.
Our tone communicates the way we feel about something
Words are powerful, but the way in which they are spoken confirms exactly how the person or business is feeling.
You can construct the most impressive single-sentence strap line, but if it isn’t spoken with gusto or – worse – is muttered with nothing but contempt, it’ll quickly sink without trace.
The way in which you say something when on the business stage is so important. Even the most mundane of product updates or announcements can be made ultra-exciting if they’re expressed in the right manner.
A business’s tone establishes the sound of the brand
How do you want customers to perceive your business? Bearing in mind they’ll typically interact with it in the digital realm, the right tone throughout any form of communication or marketing output is vital.
If the tone is jovial and tongue-in-cheek, observers will quickly understand that the business is an approachable one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If it’s serious, laced with acronyms and references to past glories, it’ll be immediately obvious that this company is strictly business and in the most traditional of senses.
Neither example above is right or wrong – they simply set the tone as appropriate, depending on the business’s goals and industry within which it operates. Where they’re intrinsically alike, however, is in their ability to set an unmistakable tone that is never diluted.
The right tone helps build trust
Humans like consistency. If a business constantly changes its tone of voice or never appears to be the same entity whenever an announcement is made, few people will trust it.
A tone that is consistent and ever-present in all marketing communication is a tone that will be trusted by the intended audience; mission accomplished, if you will!
It sets you apart
You don’t want to sound like everyone else in your industry, do you? Just as every human is individual, every company should be unique in the way it carries itself.
If you develop a tone of voice based on your business’s goals, history and the personalities of its staff, you’ll create something that no one else has, and it’ll manifest itself in a tone of voice that will become instantly recognisable in your industry. Your business will be different, and that’s a very good thing indeed.
If you’re in the early phases of start-up or need to reinvigorate your existing business, spend as much time as you can creating the right tone of voice for it. In doing so, you’ll develop a persona that will draw in the correct audience, gain respect and trust and – most importantly – plenty of new admirers.