Marketing has never been more diverse, more technology rich, and more open to creativity than today. With a wealth of platforms to choose from, forward-thinking techniques, and audiences who are open to trying new things, marketers can think outside the box like never before. So why, despite all these advances in marketing, do brands still rely so heavily on words, language and organic imagination? OTB has the answers.
Brand identity talks
The identity of a brand is in many ways the cornerstone of any marketing campaign. Without a strong brand as a foundation, it is unlikely any strategy great or small will succeed in driving strong results and engaging target demographics with its campaign. At the heart of this brand identity is language. Words. The very fibre of an image that speaks to audiences, investors and stakeholders on a local and global level, language can often make or break a brand identity.
According to insight publication Brand Strategy Insider, defining your brand’s tone of voice is essential to defining your image and pitching it at the right level for your audience. It is argued that whether you want to position yourself as a brand leader by adopting a sure, authoritative tone, a cult brand by using “tribal” language for an aura of exclusivity, or a budget brand led by price, savings and generosity, ‘in all cases the language you use as a brand is directly aligned with your value proposition.’
For the brand director of Fred Perry Rob Gaitt, verbal branding is just as important as visual communication. In a recent interview with Marketing Week, Gaitt argues the Fred Perry brand uses language that is ‘clear, simple, abrupt at times but always true’. He continues ‘this runs across internal and external communications. It’s important that we have consistency of messaging and that means we use the same vocabulary and sentiment.’
Speaking the language of another
With marketing such a global industry, the importance of speaking the language of another has never been greater. To communicate with overseas markets, verbal identity often has to be culturally aware, nuanced in its messaging and vibrant enough to stand out from more local brand alternatives.
An interesting example is given by Branding Magazine, who have explored the language of marketing in Chinese markets. Focusing on a range of brands including Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, HSBC and Belvita, the article explores the importance of naming and the impact this can have on marketing to global marketplaces. It is argued that ‘naming influences the brand positioning by actualising it at an early stage in its development’, but that this can cause a number of obstacles when adapting your brand for China.
The article continues, ’in countries like China, where there is a distinctive culture and also a hyper-competitive environment, there is a very frequent need for localisation.’ By adapting a brand name to the local language, it is possible to make its verbal identity linguistically appealing and tempting to the target market of an increasingly globalised marketplace.
Insights say so
Insight generators and opinion leaders alike are quick to point to the value of using language and words to build identity and strategy.
One such example is Niklas Nikolaidis, the founder of audience-buying platform Joinville, who in a recent LinkedIn article argued that ‘every good copywriter knows that the tone and the language used in the copy needs to be adapted to the target audience.’ He argues that when this target audience is bi- or multi-lingual, naturally the communication challenges are enhanced, but that using sharp, punchy copy can create a clear messaging strategy that avoids the pitfalls of translation and culturally-inappropriate branding.
Likewise Clare Balmer, the founder of Australian brand directory Brand Journal, has argued that language can, and should be, far more than a catchy title or slogan. In her article for Key Person of Influence, Balmer argues that although having a successful slogan can be great for building brand awareness, ‘finding the values and the essence of your company is the best place to start when building brand language.’
With easily applicable techniques to integrate brand language into every element of communication strategy including email signatures, phone greetings and branded vehicles, Balmer argues you can create consistency in language use that moves beyond your initial tag line attraction.