What Is Tonality in Marketing?
Marketing describes the myriad efforts a company makes to reach its consumer audience. When marketing messages are aligned with a company's strategic marketing plan, the company can influence the decisions customers make related to the brand, such as encouraging them to consume more products. Without deliberate marketing efforts, consumers consume different messages about a brand, which may confuse them or convince them to buy another company's products.
Tonality concerns the tone of the messages that a company distributes through its marketing efforts. Tone might be described using many adjectives, including positive, negative, warm, caring, impersonal, confident or service-oriented. A company has to choose the right combination of words and images to build up the tone for its branding messages.
Many companies try to build trust through their marketing messages. Their use of an effective tone, such as appealing words, music and images combined in warm TV ads, will support their brand. They want to make the customer believe they are familiar like a friend or family member. An example is the Hallmark brand, which often features warm family moments in TV ads that inspire people to go to a Hallmark store and buy a card for a loved one.
When companies develop new marketing campaigns, they need to decide if the tone of the messages for one product will be distinct or if they will fit the tone of other campaigns. An example is how the Apple Corporation branded its iPhone differently than other products such as the iPod and the Apple laptop. The focus of iPhone TV ads has been how the phone can help you do just about anything like a personal assistant, such as responding to a voice command by reserving dinner for two at your favorite restaurant.
Companies that use the Internet for marketing are examples of organizations that need to address tonality, an important way that messages can be tailored for different audiences. Lisa Arthur explained it in an April 2012 article on Forbes.com: "B2B marketers must adopt a customer-centric approach and deliver messaging that’s compelling, customized and consistent across all touchpoints." Arthur's example reflects how businesses are competing in so many different kinds of media, or touchpoints, that they must customize their messages even more to convince customers to support their brand.