Most B2B websites exist to build relationships and brand awareness, not direct sales (except e-commerce sites). Getting the tone and mood of your site right allows the viewer to pass through the first gate to engagement. People use visual design as an initial filter. “Do I like how this site looks?” You have more control over this than you may think.
Studies show that opinions about what a website should look like are influenced by what industry it is found in. In my work as a content writer, I see this influence from within an industry as well. Let’s look at the automobile industry and the differences between an auto body shop, luxury car manufacturer, and auto parts manufacturer.
How can tone influence the mood of the viewer (who already has preconceived notions)? It is up to the content planner and writer to understand audience expectations and set the tone that creates the mood for building good interaction with a brand or business.
Tone Creates Mood
Tone is a feeling or atmosphere created by content writers using text, visuals and sometimes sounds. The choice of words, images and graphic details reflect tone. Tone is set with intent by the content writer to be serious, professional or
light hearted, etc.
Mood is what the audience perceives or feels while viewing the content.
An auto body shop or “collision repair” (new term being used) often caters to vehicle owners in distress. This audience may not be interested in reading tons of text or viewing pretty pictures. They want a cost estimate. Help with an insurance claim. Something that indicates the shop fixes their type of car.
The tone can be created using before and after photos to show the car owners there is hope for returning the vehicle to its original condition. The text may emphasize real-time response (readiness), customer convenience (caring), competence (quality) and satisfaction. The mood might be that of a prize fighter reclaiming his title or a sense of renewal.
On the other hand, an audience for luxury cars is looking for distinction. There is time to read some of the detail on performance, accessories and style. How is each described? The text is concise instilling a sense of scarcity, desire and pride. The photos on these sites change before our eyes, showing action. As a result the mood created may be racy or progressive. Lexus uses the phrases “Brace Yourself” and “Embrace cutting edge over convention” on their site.
E-Commerce Sites Create Tone and Mood Too
A manufacturer of auto parts may set up an e-commerce site that lists all parts by vehicle type. The tone (efficiency) is created through easy-to-use navigation devices such as search boxes, as well as accurate descriptions and photos of the part. When the phrase “Get the Perfect Fit” is placed above search boxes for make, model and year as JC Whitney does on their site, the buyer may feel more assured of their selection. The mood assurance is skillfully intended by the content writer.
Stay steps ahead of the competition by using tone and mood to distinguish your brand or business. Look at some of your favorite websites and see if the mood makes you want to do business with them.