The right words (what we call a brand platform) can become a powerful brand asset, turbocharging the brand’s relevance, coherence and distinctiveness in the marketplace.
Here are our 7 observations on why brand language matters:
- It’s words first, design second
Quite simply, it’s the most important part of branding. We’re a brand consultancy and many people think that means that we design logos. Well, we do, but not until we’ve nailed the words. And it’s a useful discriminator for us about what type of work to do. If we don’t get the opportunity to develop the language, then we probably won’t take the project on.
- It comes from the inside out
When we do this kind of consultancy, it’s important to get to a customer-facing expression of the brand - i.e. what is it saying to me and how is it saying it? Sure that’s super important. But we have to start with the internal brand voice. What are we saying to ourselves and what does it mean? This all comes from the foundations. The values and purpose statements are the well from which we draw all of the brand language we create.
- Language humanises
“Language is the most humanising aspect of any brand”. One of our most used phrases. It makes complex corporate businesses sound like people. That’s the most important thing. More than any other asset, we fix our understanding & appreciation of brands by the way they talk to us. Don Draper and the ad guys have been doing this for years. David Ogilvy said ‘advertising is the business of words’ and creative teams in ad agencies organise themselves into art director and copy writing units. The thing is, we believe that creating this language and tone of voice is the job of the brand agency, not the advertising agency, and it should be baked into the DNA of the brand.
- It’s a brand asset
Extending the ad example above…it’s interesting that famous lines like Just Do It and I’m Lovin It were born out of famous advertising campaigns. They are now closely guarded distinctive brand assets. These strap lines which beautifully sum up an attitude and personality have transcended the realm of advertising to come to be a core part of the brand. It’s a top-down approach, but it’s smart. We prefer to build these assets from the bottom up - cementing the attitude in the brand language from the very start of the branding process.
- Makes the complex simple
The clever use of language: leveraging idiom, metaphor or simile has the ability to hardwire meaning directly into the brain of the reader. That’s why these tools, or language shortcuts, are so powerful for brands. They strip away complexity and sum up a ton of meaning in a very efficient manner. Like a double verbal espresso…see what I mean?
- It delivers coherence
If we’re smart and are able to create a short, sharp & flexible language platform for a brand, then it’s able to bring coherence to much of the brand comms. We love to demonstrate how our language platforms work with sales messages, HR messaging, customer support messaging, regional differences…making the total feel much greater than the sum of the parts.
- Micro language is crucial
In the digital-first world, we don’t have the luxury of a 48 sheet poster…and social media is largely a word driven medium. So, it’s crucial that our language solutions extend to what we’re calling the ‘micro language’ of the world of PPC as well as in SEO and social media.
In branding terms, developing a powerful language platform is a relatively easy way to give your brand a big shot in the arm. We've got some great examples of brand language platforms working in practice over in our brand work section. Take a look and give us a shout if you’d like to chat about how we could help you build better brand language.