One of the key purposes of business writing is to write in a way that reinforces your brand. It’s also one of the main areas where much business writing often fails. If your brand is about dynamism, energy and modern thinking, your writing needs to support that. So that means using appropriate words, tone and structure.
We were recently working on a recruitment brochure for a major professional services firm. Being a recruitment brochure, the firm wanted to suggest energy, innovation and friendliness. But one of the main contributors insisted on using words like hence, thus and amongst. I think there may even have been a ‘heretofore’ in there somewhere.
Now don’t get me wrong. These are all mighty fine words in themselves, but they are not ones that sit particularly well with the firm’s overarching brand messaging.
Words like hence, thus, amongst and whilst, have a whiff of old-fashioned formality, of stuffiness and of, well, naffness. It’s one of the reasons why most newspapers rarely use them, preferring while to whilst, among to amongst, and just avoiding hence, thus and heretofore altogether.
You should do the same. The sleekest, most appealing brand in the world can never be anything other than superficial marketing bling, if the messages that define the brand are not reflected in the writing that underpins it.
Not just the first one or two levels of pages on the website, but at every level. From websites to brochures, customer or client communications, case studies, product specs, even technical documentation.
That’s not to say that your top-level marketing messages or stylistic tone of voice flourishes need to be shoe-horned into every piece of writing. Simply that the tone and style of customer or client-focused writing throughout the organisation should resonate with the overall brand positioning, not jar against it.
Unless, of course, you’re deliberately looking to suggest old-fashioned formality and officiousness. In which case, we wish you glad-hearted good wishes in the pursuit of the above-said objectives, utilising some of the strategies heretofore mentioned, amongst many other techniques commonly implemented by senior professionals.