Tone of Voice: Define The Personality of Your Architecture Firm

March 24, 2024

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

There’s been a misunderstanding. Your friend or family member or spouse or child is upset. And so are you. Somewhere along the way, feelings were hurt. Then one of you says:

“It’s not what you said. It’s how you said it.”

Oof. I’m usually on the receiving end of that statement - a common downfall of being a bit too direct 🤦‍♂️

These things can happen at a company level too - when statements are being made on behalf of your firm. Think social media, proposals, emails, etc.

This problem is usually ignored in marketing and business development. It’s all about the messaging - what is said rather than how it’s said.

But that leaves lots of gaps for misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

What’s the solution? Define your firm’s Tone of Voice.

What is Tone of Voice?

Think of tone of voice as your brand’s personality. For example:

  • how you convey your message, not just the message itself.

  • the warmth of a greeting, the authority in giving advice, or the clarity in explaining complex ideas.

  • how your firm "sounds" in emails, on your website, or even in social media posts.

Why does Tone of Voice matter?

Here’s the deal: consistency in your tone of voice helps people recognize and connect with your brand on a deeper level. When your tone of voice aligns with your brand's identity and values, it builds trust, credibility, and familiarity.

Plus, a consistent tone across all your communications makes your firm look professional and, honestly, just more appealing. When it’s defined, you can grow and scale your marketing efforts quickly while maintaining consistency.

How to Define Tone of Voice

01 // Conduct a brand audit

Take a look at all the ways you communicate. You want to evaluate whether or not the tone feels consistent.

  • Are there good and bad examples?

  • How does the audience or recipient respond to the different tones?

  • Does it reflect your firm’s personality and appeal to your target audience?

Your goal is to identify any past content that reflects the firm’s personality and elicited a positive response.

02 // Ask some questions of your firm

These might be questions that you’ve never openly asked, but I’ll bet you and your team have thought about them in different ways. Let’s get answers out in the open:

  • How would we describe the personality of the firm?

  • Who are we and how do we want to be perceived?

  • Who do we talk to and what do they care about?

  • What qualities does our firm reflect?

It’s also helpful to consider where your firm’s personality falls on different spectrums:

  • Informal ↔ Formal: Where does your firm fall? Are you more like a friendly chat over coffee, or a polished presentation in a boardroom?

  • Casual ↔ Professional: Is your communication style laid-back or buttoned-up?

  • Friendly ↔ Authoritative: Are you the approachable buddy or the seasoned expert?

  • Fun ↔ Serious: Do you prefer a sprinkle of humor and whimsy or a more serious and straightforward approach?

You get the idea. Don’t overdo it. These don’t have to be long answers or responses. Just a couple of short sentences or even a collection adjectives (which you’ll find helpful in the next step…).

03 // Gather your results into a Tone of Voice guideline

Based on what you've discovered, outline clear guidelines. Describe the tone you're aiming for with specific adjectives and examples. A typical guideline is anywhere from 3-10 adjectives, with each one looking something like this:

  • Confident: ABC architects has extensive knowledge in our market and enough experience to accurately identify the best solutions for our clients.

    • Bad messaging example: "We think we have a good understanding of the market and hope we can find suitable solutions for our clients.”

    • Good messaging example: “With 20 years of experience and a rich portfolio of successful projects, ABC Architects confidently navigates project complexities to meet our clients’ vision.”

It’s helpful to include bad and good examples to clarify each description.

04 // Review and adjust as needed

Your Tone of Voice guidelines shouldn’t be locked up in an ironclad vault. Markets evolve, firms grow, and audiences change.

Make it a point to revisit your tone of voice periodically and tweak it if necessary.


Your tone of voice is a description of firm's personality for communications. It helps you connect with your audience, stand out, and build trust consistently. To define your firm’s Tone of Voice:

  1. Conduct a brand audit.

  2. Ask some questions of your firm.

  3. Gather your results into a Tone of Voice guideline.

  4. Review and adjust as needed.

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