Meet Max - bringing tone of voice to life

We’ve written a whole tonne of tone of voice guidelines. Defined the values. Created the warm and friendly words. The challenge has always been to make it live. To hear the voice in your head. To share the tone of voice with a wide team.

Enter Alex Campbell – a superb fiction author with a stellar background career in PR and marketing (think Coca-Cola, WH Smith, The Body Shop, The Princes’ Trust, RNID) – who we’re lucky enough to have on the Transform team. So when looking for a different way to breath life into Tone of Voice, Alex used her fiction experience and brought it into marketing.

She raised up tone of voice from being guidelines circulated in a PDF to being a fully fledged character that people could relate to.

The character we created was Max. Max because it can be taking it to the max. Or the Max factor… Or anything else your imagination can create.

Our Max is laid back. He's stylish. Independent thinker. Creative. He’s in his late 30s. Been there. Done it. Lives in a large urban area but comes from the Midlands. He has a young family. A close circle of friends. He’s more of a listener than a talker. He asks questions. He’s relaxed but he’s not the centre of attention. We know how he sits at a table. How he greets people.

And we were able to communicate this to the whole company. People could relate Max to someone they know if their own circle of friends. So when we ask ‘Is that how Max would write that email?’ they know exactly what needs to be changed.

Instead of writing down words that you should try and weave into communciations – or words that you definitely shouldn’t include, create your own Max.

Make him or her a part of your team. Instead of the ‘Brand Police’, just ask “Is that what Max would say?”

It’s much more powerful. It works.

 

Veronica Hannon