When I’m helping clients develop their brand voices and putting together tone of voice (TOV) documents, I ask them to send me examples of copywriting they like. The three companies people always mention are innocent, MailChimp and Apple.
So what’s so great about these three?
Here’s an example of innocent’s writing, taken from their website:
innocent smoothies contain the finest fruit we can find. We never add any sugar, or anything weird like colourings, and they’re never, ever made from concentrate.
Why does it work?
- It’s informal and conversational, you feel like you’re chatting to the guy next to you, not reading something put out by a massive corporation that sells more than 2 million smoothies a week. Including “weird” and “never, ever” adds personality to the writing, it speaks to you directly and that creates trust.
Short and sweet. No lecture, no eight million things they want to tell you, just the briefest bit of relevant info that answers a few basic questions.
3. It’s targeted. innocent know their audience and what they like. People who drink innocent smoothies are young (or young at heart), trendy types who are willing to spend money in return for quality products. They care about what they put into their bodies and want to know what goes into each bottle. They don’t need long words or “science” and they haven’t got time for lengthy messages.
- It all goes together. The simple language, cute font with round edges and lower-case letters, use of colour – even the name ‘innocent’ – conveys their values.
- It’s fun and funny. MailChimp is an email marketing platform so it could be rather dry and formal but they’ve deliberately taken the opposite approach and aim “to make email marketing fun”. Their TOV is informal, conversational and friendly – and funny.
When you’ve finally sent off your perfectly designed and written email you get this message:
Fine piece of work, you totally deserve a raise!
Or when you’re looking at your tracking (which, let’s face it, isn’t terribly exciting) you get a nice pat on the back:
Your open rate was 196% higher than the industry average, nice work.
If you end up on a page that doesn’t exist any more you get the funny message above but if you’ve just deleted half of your data or you’ve got a problem with an invoice they don’t make a joke of it, the humour stops.
And if it’s all too much for you and you want to switch the witty messages off, you can always select ‘Party Pooper mode’.
- Straightforward language. Apple is selling expensive, complicated products but you never feel confused when you go onto their site or read their marketing. The language is simple and tells you what you need to know without any fussiness.
The new MacBook may have faster CPU, more gigabytes or better WiFi speeds but they’ll bring you in with the clear writing and beautiful images, then allow you to explore the details.
7. Consistency. Like innocent and MailChimp, Apple’s TOV is consistent across its products and mediums but more than that, it’s congruent with everything they do. The straightforward language speaks directly to their target market, the simplicity of the copywriting reflects the products themselves. They’ve managed to make their voice, values, brand design and products fit together perfectly.
These three brands have developed really strong voices that convey their values and communicate brilliantly with their audiences. They wouldn’t work for everybody but they clearly work for them.
If you’ve got any questions or examples of brand voices you love please share them below.