Why it works series - An analysis of Headspace’s tone of voice
Take me back

Why it works – Headspace’s Tone of Voice

It’s that time, again! Not Christmas (although it is that time, too). No, I’m talking about Why It Works!

That’s right, it’s time for the latest installment in our Why It Works series, where we unwrap and unpack a brand we love to see what makes them tick. Then, in the spirit of Christmas, we share with you what businesses like yours can learn from it. You could say we’re digital marketing’s answer to Santa Claus, only we work all year-round to deliver the goods rather than working one night each year. (We’re joking, we’re not Marketing Santa and we do take breaks – plenty of them – and you should too. Take one after you’ve read this article!)

But enough about Christmas. Let’s get to unwrapping our next brand: Headspace.

What is Headspace?

It’s fitting we’re talking about Headspace during the most stressfu- I mean, wonderful time of the year. That’s because Headspace is a meditation and mindfulness app, whose mission is to make lives less stressful. Or, in their own words:

Image via Headspace with thanks

A lovely way to put it, don’t you think?

But why highlight Headspace’s own words? Because in this blog, we’re looking specifically at their tone of voice, and more to the point, why their tone of voice is so successful.

What is tone of voice?

In a sentence: tone of voice isn’t what you say, but how you say it.

In a couple more sentences: it’s the pace, order, and rhythm of your words; the mood they create, the feeling you get from reading them. It’s your attitude, your diction, your delivery. It’s what makes you stand out from the crowd.

You can find tone of voice in adverts and articles, but also in logos, colour schemes, and website design. It’s literally everywhere. It even sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake!

Okay, maybe scratch that last point. But tone of voice is as vital to successful marketing as Santa is to Christmas, and that’s because tone of voice – when used correctly and consistently – makes you a brand people can trust.

What is Headspace’s tone of voice?

In a word: calm. Pretty on-brand for a meditation app, right?

In keeping with the meditative theme, it’s also simple, reassuring, and positive. But don’t take my word(s) for it, see for yourself.

Images via ITAL/C with thanks

Now that’s great tone of voice.

The language is easy to understand, the messaging is clear, and nifty little tricks make the copy engaging: the alliteration in ‘matters of the mind’, for example, or the way ‘Authentic Expertise’ rolls off the tongue. (If my English degree isn’t failing me, that’s actually some iambic trimeter right there!)

These two examples are taken from Headspace’s Brand Book, a beautifully compiled rundown of their brand values, mission, and aesthetic for employees, customers, and media clients. Or, as they describe it: the Headspace way.

What makes the tone of voice in Headspace’s Brand Book truly great is that it reflects the brand values they’re laying out. New employees, customers, or media outlets are far more likely to trust that Headspace values ‘Authenticity’ and ‘Simplicity’ when the messaging itself is authentic and simple. Or put more simply, consistency between your values and your tone of voice is key when creating trust in your brand.

Let’s look at authenticity a bit more closely.

The narrator in this video – that voice you’ve just heard, with the soothing timbre – is Andy Puddicombe, Headspace’s founder. Andy narrates pretty much every meditation Headspace’s app has published.

As well as being Headspace’s co-founder, Andy is also a qualified meditation instructor. That probably explains why his voice is so calming. But it also gives his videos a more conversational and personal quality, which again creates trust with his listeners. You can feel the passion coming from Andy when he guides you through each anxiety-relieving exercise. The guy is a former Buddhist monk – talk about authentic!

And that tone of voice – that calmness, that simplicity, that authenticity – appears on Headspace’s website, its social media, its written and video content. Again, it’s everywhere!

Image via Headspace with thanks

Why does it work so well?

Headspace was designed to help its users practice mindfulness, find happiness, and improve how they deal with stress and anxiety. That’s made clear on their website’s ‘About Us’ page.

Image via Headspace with thanks

And therein lies the secret to why Headspace’s tone of voice is so effective: it’s entirely geared towards its users’ wants and needs.

Its simple, clear, and reassuring messaging anticipates its users and begins to assuage their stresses before they’ve even subscribed to the app or started their first meditation. Potential users scrolling the app store will naturally gravitate towards something that catches their eye and makes them feel calmer, while subscribers will continue to subscribe when the service they receive is consistent and dependable.

And a quick point about catching the eye: those cute characters off to the left on Headspace’s ‘About Us’ – the ones that look like little oranges or suns – they crop up all over Headspace’s app, social media, and video content in various colours and designs.

Image via App Store with thanks
Image via Instagram with thanks

Not only are these characters’ muted colours and straightforward design easy on the eye, they are – like written copy – geared towards relieving stress. There’s a reason they’re always smiling; visually, they reinforce Headspace’s positive tone of voice without using any words at all!

What can your business learn from Headspace’s tone of voice?

Bloomin’ loads!

  • Consistency – whatever your tone of voice is, and wherever it appears (which we’ve established is pretty much everywhere), it should be consistent. That means in your newsletters, email correspondence, hell, even your cookie consent banner!
  • Personal touch – letting your customers know they’re dealing with another human through your tone of voice is the best way to be authentic, credible, and create trust.
  • Consider your customers – tone of voice, like the service you’re offering or the product you’re selling, should be geared towards your customers’ wants and needs. Think of it as the foundation of your brand.
  • Tone of voice is more than words – written copy is very important, but so are visuals, videos, music, and soundscapes. Your tone of voice should inform them all!

Want to execute your own tone of voice like a pro?

If you couldn’t already tell, we love a bit of tone of voice. Like, LOVE it!

If you need help nailing your tone of voice, get in touch with our Content Team, or as they prefer to be called: Ruth, Amber, and Faye!