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Tone of voice. You’ve probably noticed that it makes a big difference in conversation, whether it’s with a surly teenager, a passive aggressive partner, or snarky coworker. But have you noticed how it can make a difference for a brand? Brands can have a voice, just like people. Sometimes it’s not super obvious because it’s a straightforward tone of voice, but sometimes — much like a overly sweet and gracious Southern woman or an absurdly rude stranger on the subway — a brand’s voice really stands out.

I came across such a voice recently while visiting a “nano-brewery” called Adroit Theory. Their tone is unlike that of any other brewery or beer brand I’ve ever seen. It’s over-the-top dark, intense, and often anti-establishment. Take a look at this description of one of their beers, which somehow seems to be all voice and no product-related messaging:

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The “Harbinger” Imperial Amber

It stalks in the darkness, and it hides in plain sight. It creeps with great stealth, and boldly confronts. It’s there, then it’s not… hints of an approaching evil. Insatiable greed, unquenchable thirst, inexhaustible cunning, relentless hunger. You can’t kill it, you can’t hide from it. You could run, but are you running away from it, or right into its jaws? It betrays, devours, violates, consumes. The only sure trace of its presence is the carnage it leaves behind. Is it behind me? Beside me? Right in front of me? Or is it in me?

They’re literally saying nothing at all about the product, yet they’re saying a lot about the brand they’re selling. That’s the magic and the power of voice. No matter what you’re saying (the messaging), you can choose how you say it (the voice).

Now, we wouldn’t recommend this specific tactic of having essentially no messaging, but if a tone of voice can be this powerful standing alone, just think of what it could achieve for a brand when paired with strong messaging.

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