Managing Tone in Marketing Messaging and Customer Engagement

2019-06-10 by Ronn Torossian
Managing Tone in Marketing Messaging and Customer Engagement

It’s a common occurrence. All too often, in today’s age of social media prevalence, brands get into virtual shouting matches with users who are combative behind a screen. Or, customers themselves get into virtual spats in the comments on a post.

It happens more often than not, unfortunately. And whether or not it’s a pleasant experience, the underlying lesson to be learned here is that tone and messaging absolutely do matter when it comes to managing a business and having a corresponding online presence. What all goes into “tone” and “messaging”, as it pertains to marketing? Let’s take a bit of a deeper dive.

Why Tone is Important Online

Online, it’s easy to misconstrue the intentions of a message because the reader usually adds their own interpretation of tone. While it’s certainly not recommended to be overly effusive with messaging, businesses can still put a “smile” into what they write.

Take these two examples which are responses to a customer question on a Facebook post:

Hi Janet. Please review our policies on our website for more information. It’s all outlined there, thanks.”

Versus

“Hi Janet! Thanks for your question. It’s probably easier to head over to our website, where all of our policies are outlined in more detail. Let us know if you have any further questions!”

While both of these examples are delivering the same message, the tone is much more friendly and pleasant in the second sample. The second example is less likely to turn the customer off, even if the first sample did not have any ill intention behind it. Remember: this is the internet, and virtual communication is much more difficult to decipher than a face-to-face conversation. So be mindful of this tone. A few tweaks and a bit more personality is usually all it takes to improve the tone.

When to Use Proper Tone

The tone should be factored into any correspondence that is put out into the public eye. From marketing materials to emails, to customer messages, to comments on posts, the tone should be consistent. A customer should know what to expect when they contact a business. If they have a poor experience, from a customer service standpoint, they are not likely to recommend the business or return in the future.

So make a habit of doing an audit of tone and messaging in all materials found online that are associated with the business. This should, hopefully, go without saying, but also ensure that all messaging is appropriately capitalized, is written with proper grammar and spelling, and uses punctuation. This is an easy way to improve tone and increase the level of credibility the business has online.

Interacting with customers is a necessary part of online marketing for any business of any size. How this is handled is a direct reflection of the business, so handle all interactions with tact and politeness. This will pay off in the long run.

Doing a regular audit of messaging can help a brand find ways to improve customer relations, which, in a heavily competitive space, is important to have a firm grasp on. Add an exclamation point here, a friendly tone there, and your customer service game will be up to speed!

Ronn Torossian is CEO of NYC based PR firm 5WPRTorossian is regularly quoted in the media.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities