Nailing your business’ tone of voice is an essential part of brand building. As we like to say at The William Agency: “Words have power, so choose them wisely.”
Product offer, customer service and delivery speeds can all separate one brand from another in the eyes of the customer. Yet many brands find themselves unable to compete despite offering far better logistical perks.
Why is that?
Often, we find this is because of a lack of ‘aspirational uniqueness’. That’s essentially a fancy way of saying some brands have a complete ‘brand universe’ that is intoxicating and inspiring to the consumer, while others have great postage… but nothing that truly captures the customer’s imagination.
The way you speak to your customer, about your brand and about your products or services is one of the fundamental building blocks of ‘aspirational uniqueness’ and, therefore, brand identity.
The way you communicate with words will:
1. Underpin your marketing approach
2. Help you stand out from the crowd
3. Express your brand personality
4. Contribute towards the creation of ‘aspirational uniqueness’.
What Is Brand Language And Why Is It Important?
Brand language is about more than the throwaway phrases and convenient adjectives. Often it can feel prescriptive and clichéd. Take for example the recent proliferation of ‘artisanal’, ‘handcrafted’, ‘natural’ and ‘home-made’ among brands.
This lack of uniqueness leads to scepticism in the mind of the customer. This 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.
You can find some helpful examples of brand language and tone of voice via this article by UX Design.
Crucially, brand language can help to express the personality of your business. There is so much competition for products and services online. This is your way to communicate uniquely about something that isn’t unique.
Practical Steps to Create a Brand Language
Crafting a great brand language doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t just ‘evolve’ over time either. It takes hard work, consistency and great branded copywriting.
Here are some things you’ll need to consider and/or prepare to get started:
1. A clear USP and sense of brand values
2. A list of words and phrases you love (and the ones you hate)
3. Some clear copywriting rules i.e. ‘always friendly, but we never use slang’
4. A sense of how you want the customer to perceive you
5. A commitment to consistency (supported by a brand language document saved in an easily accessible place for your whole team)
6. A brand guardian(s) who is responsible for monitoring brand language across all platforms, including social media, your blog, marketing materials, window displays etc
Need more advice? Take a look at some of our core brand language top tips below.
Set Aside Time To Create Your Brand Language
This isn’t something that is going to take 10 minutes. Start by asking your staff what words they would associate with your brand. Do they match the words you would have chosen? Then 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.
As a branded content agency, The William Agency can guide your team through this process as part of a strategy day. Get in touch with us to find out more.
Research Your Competitors’ Brand Language
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.
Ensure Your Brand Language Is Original
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 reading your ‘About Us’ page.
Keep Your Brand Language Simple
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.
Weave Your Messaging into Brand Storytelling
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.
Develop Your Business Language
Instil 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. Your tone of voice and glossary should influence your overall business language.
This sense of identity will eventually permeate not only the outward image of your business, but your internal culture.
Are you struggling with your brand language? Speak to us to find out more about our branded content and brand storytelling services.