Anna Tugetam, Brand Adviser at MerchantCantos,
explains why verbal identity matters.
Imagine a world without language. It would be pretty difficult to connect and engage with other people wouldn’t it? Well, the same goes for brands. Without language, it’s impossible to create a strong brand.
Working with many B2B and corporate clients we’ve noticed that they often overlook their brand language as an integral part of their strategy. Your verbal identity should be a key part in building a differentiated brand and here is why:
- Cut through the clutter and truly connect with your audiences. Strong brand language creates a recognisable and distinct impression in the marketplace – anyone who encounters that brand will remember it. It’s an important tool to use when you really want to connect with your audiences and the impression you want to leave them with. Think about your purpose and key differentiators and how they can come alive in your verbal identity. Then think about what you want your audiences to think, feel and do. You need to make your words relevant and resonant – in order to genuinely connect.
- Consistency. With more content being produced than ever, a strong and consistent verbal identity is crucial. Having a strong and consistent voice and set of messages helps a brand express itself across multiple touchpoints. Whether it’s in advertising, digital, investor communications or in recruiting. Your brand should sound the same across all mediums and to all audiences. However, it’s easy to lose the core of the brand and simply think within specific channel conventions. Who do we think has got it right? Mailchimp has managed to keep its verbal identity consistent across channels such as website and social media. It’s fun, engaging and simple.
- Talent management. Your verbal identity should be a mirror of your culture. When attracting and retaining people your verbal strategy is key, because people get a real sense of the culture and why they should work for you. When building out your verbal identity start from the inside and work your way out, to capture culture, values and behaviours. Sequoia, a venture capital firm in San Francisco, has managed to create a brand that puts its people at the forefront. By focusing on telling personal stories, entrepreneurs and potential employees can easily picture what it will be like working there.
- Delivering your purpose. Purpose and verbal identity strategy go hand-in-hand. A consistent verbal identity makes it easier for a company to follow through and execute on its purpose. And vice versa – a strong purpose makes it easier for a company to create a strong verbal identity. It’s more than just choosing words wisely though, it’s knowing who you are and finding the words that tell your story. Macmillan Cancer Support is a great example of how a verbal identity directly supports the organisation’s core purpose of being closer to the community and cancer patients.
Brand owners and marketers will continue to obsess about the visualisation of their brands. But, to create true differentiation you need to consider a holistic approach to your brand and ensure you spend effort and time defining your tone and voice – not just creating a compelling visual identity.