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  • Writer's pictureDan White

5 friendly brand tone of voice examples

If the plan for your business is world-domination (or a variation of that) then it helps to be nice to people. You don’t have to - but it really helps considering everything with everything going on *gestures around*


Either way, if you plan for your brand to be genuinely friendly, or are just sticking to a friendly facade, it’s pretty critical that friendliness shines through in your tone of voice.


Friendliness is a fickle friend though, which is why we’re exploring it here through these brands:


WHAT FRIENDLINESS IS (AND WHAT IT ISN’T)


Being friendly isn’t about lots of explanation marks, emojis and 'inspiring' hashtags. It’s about showing some warmth with the right audience at the right time.


Go for something too friendly? That can lead to something between desperation and creepy. Not friendly enough? Then you’re cold, stuffy and unrelatable.


Rather than try to explain using a raft of abstract concepts to communicate what the right level of friendliness looks like for your brand tone of voice we thought it would be easier to share with you 5 excellent examples that shows you what works for others.


Use these to influence, inspire and reassess the warmth that your current content exudes. But do not copy. Why? Before we jump in let’s include just one abstract concept - Like replica Italinate fountains that sit outside suburban bungalows the brands we’re about to show you here might not fit your business or your style. Let’s begin.


Riverford's tone of voice:


Who? They deliver organic vegetables to your doorstep Website: riverford.co.uk What’s so friendly about them?

Convincing people to buy organic is a hard challenge indeed. Why should you pay a premium for something you can buy in the supermarket? Let’s take a look at their About page. Riverford helps win you over in part with their friendliness.

RIVERFORD’S COPY:

2 paragraphs of copy from Riverford demonstrating friendly tone of voice. The section opens with the heading 'Life life on the veg'

Uses positive sensory language to evoke the smell, taste and sight of their fruit and veg - ‘the crunchiest cauliflower and the carrotiest carrots’

  • Evoking a sense of nostalgia. A nod to how things were (supposedly) done properly in the past - ‘Spuds like your grandad used to grow’

  • Zero jargon. Instead of talking crop agronomy they ‘never spray your food with artificial nasties

From Riverford’s delivery boxes to their recipe cards their tone of voice is friendly and wholesome. Something which perfectly convey’s Riverford’s environmental ethos.

 

Barkbox's tone of voice:


Who? A monthly subscription box service for dogs Website: barkbox.com

What’s so friendly about them? Barkbox are all about energy. The type of energy that if you were a dog your tail would be well and truly wagging.

BARKBOX’S COPY:

  • Frequently uses exclamation points to shout instead of speak what they’re conveying!

  • Enthusiastic imagery to make the mundane more fun - ‘Our Pack Has Your Back!’

  • Rhyme. So much rhyme - ‘No muss, no fuss’

  • Extra notes dotted around the website. Superfluous, but amusing - ‘Floyd - Squeaker in Chief’


The homepage for Barkbox. A dog holding a toy Christmas turkey is on the left and on the right is the heading 'Monthly dog goodies for good doggies' showing a friendly tone of voice.

The concern with many brands is that having a ‘fun’ tone of voice is actually an unplanned accident; a result of an overambitious copywriter, rather than a result of formal planning. As a result, there’s often a mismatch between the fun veneer of a website and the deathly dull reality of banal business underneath. People detect that dissonance and well, it doesn’t make for good business.


However, in Barkbox’s case their tone of voice is no mere accident. Instead the fun-time energy they convey over complements the brands visual offering. Combine these two together and you can witness a clear and deliberate strategy that helps them stand out.

 

The Lang Cat's tone of voice:


Who? Consultancy + communications for the platform, investment and pensions market Website: langcatfinancial.co.uk

What’s so friendly about them? It’s common that when we’re talking about tone of voice we gravitate to B2C examples. After all, that’s where the fun is right? Thankfully, the likes of The Lang Cat is a much needed tonic to the dull, dull tone of voice which pervades most B2B comms.

Like with Bulb, we have to understand the context that The Lang Cat finds itself in. A punchy, friendly tone of voice can make you stand out in most occasions. Put a punchy, friendly tone of voice in a room full of white shirts and blue jackets and it stands out even further.

THE LANG CATS’ COPY:

  • Is relatable. Lang Cat’s services aren’t for everyone. Oh no, it’s for serious financial types who do business with other serious financial types. Adding this line on their consultancy page is going to resonate with their intended audience. ‘Had enough of 25-year-old MBAs telling you how to run your company through the medium of 150-strong slide packs at £1k per slide?’

  • Added humour. This is the start of their Coronavirus statement:

“We hope you’re all doing OK. We are all working from home quite happily – every member of the lang cat team is fully set up to deal with both the zombie apocalypse and business as usual in terms of video conferencing, phone and email. All the contact details you’re used to will still work as normal.”

The entire website is written like this and if you can be friendly and funny you get remembered.

  • It’s personal. Their blog turns what could be seriously dull financial topics into a source of amusement and this all comes from one voice (the boss, Mark Polson). By writing in the 1st person means it breaks away from corporate claptrap, allowing the content to be more personal and obviously friendly.


A section of copy from The Lang Cat showing a friendly tone of voice. The section opens with the heading 'Consultancy - The consultancy for when you're tired of consultancies'

 

Oatly's tone of voice:


Who? The original oat drink company Website: oatly.com

What’s so friendly about them? We’ve been saving the best to last. Partly, because Oatly’s tone of voice probably deserves a full post like we did for Innocent Drinks. The abridged version however shows how Oatly’s copy is friendly enough through a few different ways.

OATLY’S COPY:

  • Uses plain and simple language. No emojis. No exclamation marks. No buzzwords. Much like the philosophy of the brand, the ego-absent copy isn’t trying to sell you something. And for that they’re instantly more likeable.

  • Because plain and simple can all too often translate to being boring there’s an occasional surreal flourish added to Oatly’s copy. This is from their lockdown page: ‘After momentarily losing all interest in selling you oat drink products, we decided to do this instead. Hope that’s cool with you’.

  • It’s layered. Very much like Innocent, Oatly gives glimpses to the people behind the brand or in this case, ‘the creative department’. Not in such a direct, personal 1-2-1 kind of way like Lang Cat. But just enough to make you remember that there’s people behind the page. Who knows though? The creative team might not even exist. They could all fictional. Talking in this way where you’re both being the face of the brand while also the voice of the people behind the brand is an interesting device to make things more personable.

Here’s a sample bringing all three of those things together:


An image of someone trying to put on a jumper in a flat is overlaid in white text the lines 'Oatly, Department of Distraction Services' showing a friendly tone of voice.

 

So there you have it, 5 brands with 5 friendly tone of voices. There’s plenty of angles you can use to make give your own tone of voice some added warmth. While you’re at it you probably want to give our post about writing emotionally to get results a read too.


If you have questions about to how to define your own tone of voice then send us the most friendly email you can muster by clicking the link here.

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