Two new banking adverts sparked these thoughts on the importance of finding the right tone of voice for your brand.
The tone of both adverts are very similar. Both have an artless, innocent quality about them. “Aren’t we lovely?” they say. We’re thoughtful and have good values at our heart. And that’s all very nice. Except…
Weren’t TSB and Lloyds part of the sector whose reckless actions helped spark a global recession? Wasn’t Lloyd’s Banking Group (of which TSB was a part) one of the banks bailed out by the government to prevent the collapse of the banking sector? Hasn’t Lloyds paid its customers nearly £10bn in compensation for mis-selling PPI? Perhaps they’re not so lovely after all.
But putting that small point aside, let’s look at it another way.
What do I want my bank to be? Friendly, yes, of course. There’s no doubt that’s the tone of both adverts. But to have a fairytale or whimsical quality? I’m not so sure. I want them to be sober, responsible and grown-up, not ditsy, charming and innocent. They’re supposed to be looking after our money!
So the moral of this tale is: get the tone of your business communications right. I understand that TSB and Lloyds are trying to rebuild their reputations. But these adverts are fooling no one – the rage over the behaviour of our bankers is still very much with us and we’re not ready to believe they’ve changed yet. And what’s more, the new image they’re trying to create doesn’t give me the confidence I need to trust them either. In fact, it makes me trust them even less.
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