The world has evolved from a time where businesses were allowed to be somewhat ambiguous service providing entities, who more or less spoke in the same generic tone when communicating with customers. Today, customers are demanding that brands present a personality they can connect with before they make emotional and financial commitments to those brands. Which means in 2018 and quite frankly since the 90s, having a good publicity and marketing strategy means developing a clearly understood and unambiguous brand language. Brand owners and communication experts now have to put several hours of thought into how their brand should sound in order to successfully communicate their brand message in a way that resonates with the RIGHT audience. This seemingly minute detail is the difference between brands that are able to seamlessly connect with their audience and turn profits off their marketing and publicity campaigns and brands that struggle with it.
Today, I am going to be sharing The 3 crucial components of an effective brand language to help you navigate the process of creating a language for your brand with greater understanding and ease;
This involves deciding on a communication style. Does your brand do short punchy lines or do you do more reflective and in-depth content? Is your brand language complex and intellectual or is it simple and easy to read. The answer to these questions isn’t as much about your brand, as it is who your customers are. If you’re business for instance is geared towards Artists, Academics, Intellectuals or avid Readers, then in-depth reflective content, just might work. These aforementioned group of people are more often than not, content over length. This type of customer is searching out information, insight or inspiration and they’re willing to read through it.
On the other hand if you’re dealing in the lifestyle space or with a product that has more fun social value and caters to Millennials and the Generation Z, group, short and punchy is a very safe bet. These group of customers, particularly when interacting with social and lifestyle-inclined products and services, are not accustomed to investing the time into reading. They are the generation with the shortest attention span known to mankind yet. However, they are incredibly witty and live for punchy content so that is exactly the way to go.
Your tone is all about how you deliver your message. Some brands use witty tones, some more playful and upbeat tones. Is your tone clicky, aspirational and exclusive? Friendly and approachable? Familiar or teasing? Or is it formal, informative and professional?
Understanding and defining your brand tone is crucial to the success of any communications strategy. The kind of brand and the kind of message you are driving should determine your tone and having the wrong tone will certainly ensure that you message is lost in translation. Don’t think so? Imagine Jumia or Alibaba who are some of the most mass friendly businesses local and international using a clicky and exclusive tone? It would be one of the most confusing communications ordeals even for their customers. Why? Because you expect brands like that to be relatable with the common man by using a more friendly and approachable tone.
On the other hand, think of Chanel. You know that Chanel is trying to appeal to a very niche demographic so when a brand like that using exclusive and click language you are not so surprised even on a subconscious level. Because the communications strategy of luxury brands, regardless of how it’s achieved is to using aspiration and exclusivity to sell a lifestyle you otherwise would not pay a truck load of money for. I’ll never forget one of my all-time favourite luxury ads was the Salvatore Ferragamo residential ad in Dubai. It simply read “For the distinguished few”. Now if that doesn’t communicating exclusivity, a sense of belonging to an elite group (clicky) or inspiring a desire in you to be part of that distinguished few, (aspiration) I don’t know what will.
Your brand voice is all about positioning in your industry. There are a myriad of voices and each should not only be backed up by the content style but most be conscious of where you see your brand going. Is your brand voice in your industry, collaborative and wholesome? If it is then you want to make sure than you are aiming for community building. Is your brand voice, suggestive or conversational? If yes are you aiming to establish your brand as a friend of sorts and a confidant to your audience and customers?
Is your brand voice inquisitive? Then one of your key communication goals should revolve around research and information development. Or is your voice emotional, sentimental and empathetic? Then you want to make sure you’re a brand that can provide comforting solutions or products that meet emotional needs and desires.
Are you informative, assertive or even authoritative? If you are you want to make sure you have accurate information and you’ll be well on your way to establishing yourself as an Industry thought leader. Understand who you are and who your potential customers are should feed into deciding on a brand voice. If you want to establish a brand that is a leader in your industry, your voice ought to be more assertive and authoritative
Think through each of these brand language component, develop each and ensure that all 3 are aligned, and you’ll be well on your way to developing a killer brand language!