Online, every little helps
Most businesses don’t think about their writing enough. Some only ever think to write well when it comes to external things like ads and posters. But a few get it right all the time.
Innocent is one of those. Their tone is always clear, from the bit on the bottom of the bottle that says ‘stop looking at my bottom’, to when you call them up (someone will answer ‘banana phone’), to their brochures, their website, their employment contract, etc.
Lastminute.com is another. Instead of saying ‘Please click here if you are unable to view these images’ at the top of their emails, they say ‘Has everything gone a bit Picasso?’
Then there’s Google+. The wait between clicking on your selected photo and opening Google’s picture editing programme is cheered up by random witticisms such as ‘Resharing kitten video’ and ‘Amassing high scores’ appearing underneath the loading bar.
For a tone of voice to work, everything a company writes needs to sound like them. From the ads to the small print. We recently challenged one of our clients to change the standard legalese on their ticket offers from ‘Subject to availability’ to ‘When they’re gone, they’re gone’. Because if you aren’t thorough, it’s like carefully crafting a beautiful meal, then serving it on a filthy plate.
Imagine a company, like Innocent, spending a load of money to create a great-looking website, filled with quirky language that’s bang on tone. Then using a traditional word like ‘Search’ for their buttons. Wouldn’t ‘Scout’, ‘Hunt’, or ‘Have a look’ be better? Wouldn’t it make you want to click that button more?
The words in the nooks and crannies are the surprises, the bits we remember, the touches we tell our friends about (as our Neil will tell you). So make sure they’re good ones that are right for the brand.