Nailing your business’ tone of voice is an essential part of brand building. Words shouldn’t just be plucked from thin air.

Product differentiation, varying levels of customer service and delivery speed all have the power to separate one brand from another in the eyes of customers.

Yet with the all-important price tag looming overhead, many brands find themselves unable to compete despite offering far better logistical ‘perks’ – especially if these perks add pennies to the overall basket price.

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The most successful brands have found ways around this hyper-competitive landscape by creating what we call ‘aspirational uniqueness’. They’ve created a complete world around their products using content marketing, striking imagery and social media prowess.

The result is added value for the customer, which in turn makes a higher price tag seem warranted. They’re essentially paying to be part of your brand universe.

However, there is one very important thing that underpins this marketing outreach – brand language.

What is brand language and why is it important?

Brand language is about more than throwaway phrases and convenient adjectives. Often it can feel prescriptive and clichéd. Take for example the recent proliferation of ‘artisanal’, ‘hand-crafted’ and ‘home-made’ brands.

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This lack of uniqueness leads to skepticism in the mind of the customer, which is why all growing businesses need to develop a body of words, phrases and terms that truly describe their brand’s purpose, values and products.

Before you get started on developing your brand language, take a look at our top tips below.

Quality brand language takes time

This isn’t something that is going to take 10 minutes. In fact, ask you staff what words they would associate with your brand… do they match the words you would have chosen?

Set aside time for brainstorming sessions to decide what you want your brand to be known for and what words will help you achieve that.

Research the brand language used by your competitors

Spend time analysing what language your competitors are using. Your choice of words should explain why your brand exists, not what it does or how you do it.

Be as original as possible

Avoid falling into the trap of generic, unoriginal words. For example, If your website, visuals and marketing collateral is of a high quality, consumers will presume quality without you having to constantly repeat the word.

Remember, brand language should foster the right kind of reaction and emotion in your audience, whether they’re reading an online blog post, scrolling through your social media feed or ringing a helpline.

Don’t go overboard

A small selection of words and phrases are a good place to start – you don’t need to generate a whole dictionary worth of ideas as this could dilute the effectiveness of your message.

Use your brand language wisely

Your keywords and phrases should be the essential building blocks of your strapline and mission statement, but they should also be wisely peppered throughout your blog posts, image captions, social media posts and lookbooks.

This should feel natural and not forced – customers are savvy enough to see through excessive branding attempts.

Crucially, you need to be able to back-up and justify your chosen language. For example, if a florist describes their bouquets as ‘luxurious’ and what arrives is a handful of daisies wrapped in plastic, the customer is likely to feel conned.

Package your brand language in an easy-access format

Instill a culture where employees are regularly encouraged to refer to a style guide packed full of words, phrases and best practice guides; whether they work in sales, marketing or at senior management level.

This sense of identity will eventually permeate not only the outward image of your business, but your internal culture.

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