Firms spend big bucks on branding, and the bigger the firm the more they tend to spend. Nothing wrong with that in principle. Branding is a core element of the marketing mix. Strong logo. Warm, friendly colour palette. Thoroughly researched ‘brand values’ for everyone to buy into. Works a treat.
But businesses often forget that branding is about more than visual image – it’s about the written image, too. Your words need to reinforce your brand, not dilute it or, even worse, contradict it. If your brand values emphasise your modern, dynamic and no-nonsense approach, but your writing is formal, long-winded and plain dull, the dissonance between your visual and written image will leave your audience confused – not a good idea.
Business copywriting that rings true
Take a brand like UK smoothie-maker Innocent Drinks, a company that truly understands the power of copywriting in brand building. It was one of the first brands to talk to its audience like, well, people. It uses a familiar, informal and often slightly cheeky writing style and tone of voice to connect with its market on a very personal level.
And it is very thorough in applying this copywriting tone to pretty much everything it does, not only on its high profile marketing campaigns – posters and TV adverts, for example – but on the product labels themselves. Not for Innocent the formal: ‘This drink is pasteurised. Shake before use’. Innocent bottles tell drinkers: ‘Gently pasteurised, just like milk. Shake it up, baby.’ The company’s simple visual logo, a hand drawn smiley face with a halo above it, supports this message of cheekiness, freshness and honesty
This consistency is crucial to the overall success of the brand. If the copywriting on Innocent’s bottles was stuffy and functional, the brand would not be half as effective. There would be no depth to it. The written part of the brand as represented on the bottles – formal, officious, dull – would be at odds with the visual part – fun, friendly, cheeky – leaving your customers confused and, more than likely, disappointed. Not the most efficient approach to building longer term brand awareness and customer loyalty.