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On Voice And Tone

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An example voice and tone scale -- potentially useful for online writers and content strategists struggling to translate brand promise into web content.

An example voice and tone scale -- potentially useful for online writers and content strategists struggling to translate brand promise into web content.

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  • 1. Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)
  • 2.
    • What is voice and tone
    • An example scale
    • Translating the scale
    Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)
  • 3.
    • Voice is the editorial representation of a brand. It stands for a brand’s personality, its attitude towards its customers, and conveys a brand’s positioning to all its target constituencies
    • Voice and tone is important to –
      • Strategize the role of text in an application
      • Create standards for nomenclature and diction
      • Ensure the consistent execution of text
      • Establish the broad contexts to which text behavior must be tailored
    Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)
  • 4.
    • Let’s imagine a company – XYZ – an industry leader in a service teeming with new players that threaten to change the nature of the game
    • XYZ is trying to roll out new products and services that anticipate industry trends, without alienating its core customer base
    Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)
  • 5.
    • XYZ brand wants to –
      • Convey innovation, youthfulness, energy, freshness, and approachability
      • Encourage the user to do more
      • Educate the customer about the possibilities of the service experience, their relevance in daily life, and how XYZ products and services occupy vital slots in this experience
      • Create a relationship with the customer and be responsive to their needs
      • Promote a cycle of sales
      • Stay true to the brand image of performance, energy and vitality
    • The voice and tone recommendations must be geared to support the key premises the concepts are based on
    Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)
  • 6.
    • The firms’ tone should thus project confidence borne out of leadership, empathy based on its awareness of customer needs, practicality that drives user goals, trustworthiness to build relationships, energy and vitality in keeping with its brand promise, and approachability which is essential to stimulate a dialog across all segments
    • Here’s what the Voice and Tone scale for XYZ may look like –
    Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/) ‘ Infra’ XYZ XYZ ‘ Supra’ XYZ Unsure, uncertain Confident Presumptuous/Overweening Apathetic Empathic Intrusive Vague Practical Esoteric Unreliable Trustworthy Guardian/Custodian Lackluster Energetic/Vital Hyper-active Confined Approachable Inaccessible
  • 7.
    • Instructions for the writer/editor trying to make sense of the voice and tone scale –
    • Confident – Quiet confidence is the key
      • Don’t shout from the rooftops about the superiority of XYZ products and services
      • Let facts, not adjectives, do the talking
    • Empathic – Make the reader the focus of information
      • Don’t talk about products and services in isolation from the needs they fulfill for real world users
      • Represent the reader when creating content, include feedback when necessary, answer questions that people have
    • Practical – Information is useful when it is usable
      • Concentrate on the value and practical purpose of information
      • Focus on the meaning inherent in each piece of communication, not merely the ground it covers
    Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)
  • 8.
    • Trustworthy – Trust is the foundation of relationships
      • Never allow bias, inaccuracy, or hyperbole to creep into content
      • Build predictability into all content functions, whether they be feedback response time, update frequency, positioning of content, or the quality/quantity of information available
    • Energetic/Vital – Share your energy
      • Update content regularly, create a sense of action and movement on the application
      • Motivate action, encourage the reader to act on the information rather than merely absorb it passively
      • Create a sense of empowerment for the reader; the content should lead to actions, not dictate them
    • Approachable – Be there for the reader
      • Build cues into all content to make it easier for users to find related information
      • Create simplicity out of complexity – making sense is more important than overwhelming the user with information
      • Don’t dumb down content, only scale down the level of complexity
      • Write to all segments of your readership
    Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)
  • 9.
    • Supplement the voice and tone guidelines with the following principles of good writing for the web –
      • Build multiple points of entry into content (meaningful headlines, comprehensive introduction, explanatory graphics/charts, key points, labels) so that readers can capture important information at a glance
      • Build ‘scannability’ into content by breaking it up into logical chunks that suggest the flow and perspective of the content
      • Recommend clear next steps that put the purpose of the content into practical perspective
      • Use familiar (or standard) and simple terms when creating nomenclature; make the nomenclature point to the destination page
      • Ask the readers to get involved by soliciting feedback
      • Be sensitive to sexism or politically charged issues
      • Go through the regular proof-reading checks for spelling and grammar (print out the document if necessary and do not blindly trust the spell-checker)
      • Make sure that instructional copy is short, useful, conveys complete information, and always suggests a course of action
    Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)
  • 10. Prasanna Lal Das (http://www.prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/)