Tone is the balance of frequencies present in a sound. It’s what makes a violin sound like a violin. Or a trumpet sound like a trumpet.
Most humans can distinguish between the two different instruments. Even though the violin and the trumpet may be playing the same music.
You can even distinguish different tones between the same instrument type. For example Jimi Hendrix vs. Eddie van Halen. Both amazing guitar players. Very different tones.
Musicians are tone chasers. They’re constantly after that elusive sound in their heads. They’re after a sound that makes them, well, them. And rightfully so. When all else is held equal, tone is the attribute that sets musicians apart.
At a virtuoso level two players can technically play the same music, but if one player is playing an instrument that has amazing tone…it’ll win out every time.
Humans are sensitive to tone. We are hardwired to pick up subtle differences. We can distinguish between hundreds of thousands (if not more) of nuances between different tones.
Take for example the question: ‘Did you pick up the dry cleaning?’
Say it with a monotone and pleasant voice and it sounds like a basic question.
Or lower the pitch of your voice while raising the volume - add some snark and - it sounds like an angry judgement.
Same words. Totally. Different. Meaning.
I’m guilty sometimes of not watching my tone. I’m a big burly guy and I’m told that if I’m not careful with my tone that I can come across as sounding very aggressive. 99% of the time I’m not angry. But without watching my tone I find myself apologizing.
When it comes to marketing you need to decide on your organization’s tone. Just like how tone is often the result of a player and instrument, your company’s tone is the sum of everything you do.
Everything contributes to your tone. It’s the administrative assistant answering the phone. It’s your delivery truck driver. It’s the fact that you didn’t wash your company vehicle. It could be the smell of your office.
Pick a sound and chase that tone.