Determining tone of voice for your independent business

Let’s face it, when someone starts a business they’re putting a lot of things into motion; how well those things have been defined isn’t always clear. The tone of voice used in a companies communications is one of those things whether or not it’s paid attention to.

It’s usually something that hasn’t been defined but can be felt by customers, employees, clients and it influences sales, service and many other aspects of the business a great deal. For these reasons, we all want to put our best foot forward crafting the tone to be as authentic to ownerships personality, company culture or values as possible.

Of course, an independent business has limited resources for these important marketing endeavours. So, CodeSwitch is here to help. In the case of brand-related work like this, the key to getting it done is to get started, but that’s not always easy to do without knowing where to start. The tools below from will help you do just that.

These exercises are simple and will place your feet firmly on the path of defining the tone of voice for your company or brand.

Exercise 1: Tone Dimensions
The first tone exercise involves choosing a position on four sets of opposite words.

For each of the four-word pairings below, place an “X” in the box that best corresponds to the tone you desire for your business.

X tool game






If you find yourself or your team unable to give a score, this is a sign that the current tone felt by your customer or client base isn’t very strong and could even be confusing. Here are two tips to get through it. Think of your favorite clients to interact with, remember the last interaction you had with them and then try to again to articulate that interaction using the words in the exercise.

Next, visit some of your favorite publications and try to rate their tone. Believe me, they’ve defined their voice over a long period and that’s why people return to their site. Once you have a good idea of how to make this happen for other companies you’ll be more comfortable doing it for yours.

Exercise 2: Tone Keywords

Step 1: Highlight 4–6 words that describe your desired tone well.

Step 2: Strikethrough up to 6 words that do not describe your desired tone.

word cross game












Once, you’ve finished both exercises you’ll probably wonder “ok now what”? Well, the key to brand exercises like this one is knowing how to apply them. In this case, when you are hiring writers and designers (yes graphic designers need words to design for you) give them these words. This will give them some of the information they’ll need to produce content with your brands voice in mind. There is a key difference in hiring a writer or designer to deliver their style with your brand message attached and having them deliver your brand message in its own unique voice. The latter is always better.

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