Why You Need A Verbal Brand Identity And How to Build It

We’re halfway through the year, and one thing we haven’t been short on so far … is words.

Big words, little words, your words, their words; words on brands, businesses, politics, and the state of the world.

Words are critical to our existence, how we communicate, how we belong, and how we feel connected to the world.

So constructing words, sentences, and communications for the right instance, at the right time, with the right voice and right tone, is also critically important.

Aka your verbal identity.

What is a Verbal Identity?

While a brand guide, visual identity, or brand strategy are fundamental to building a successful, succinct business, what ties all of those elements together is a clear and distinct brand voice.

Your Verbal Identity is how you bring your brand to life through words; words that inform every touch point of your brand and guide every opportunity at every – single – interaction. Words spoken by your brand will touch packaging, websites, ads, social messaging, product tags, customer service, advertising, and promotions and ultimately reinforces who your brand is through the repeated, consistent articulation of  WHO your brand is, with a distinct language, phrases, ideas, and tones.

With a carefully carved out verbal identity, you and your team can ensure that your brand shows up in the right way, with the right message, at the right time, with cross-functional messaging.

Simply put, your verbal identity defines what your brand says, how it’s said, when and where it’s said, all in a completely fluid, unified way.

Why Your Verbal Identity is Important

Think about it…

The people you trust the most are also the most consistent, honest, and reliable.

And the same is true for the relationship between a brand and its consumers. Consistent, clear, direct communication that is repeatedly and consistently the same inevitably builds trust, familiarity, and connection. With trust, you build loyalty, community, and long-term customer relationships.

Your verbal identity should provide consistency, clarity, and strong messaging across every channel and every opportunity.

Ultimately a consistent verbal identity will fuel stronger relationships by building:

  • trust
  • clarity
  • consistency
  • connection
  • commitment

How to Build Your Verbal Identity

1. Brand voice: 

Your brand voice is an umbrella term for the overall personality your brand takes on, which is projected across all touchpoints of the business. Who is your brand? What would they say, do they use slang, and how do they tell stories?

The best way to think of your brand voice is by imagining your brand as a person: are they funny, serious, quiet, informative, flirty, etc?

2. Brand tone:

Your brand tone is separate and distinct from the brand voice. The brand voice is concrete in communications, whereas the brand tone is consistent but adaptable depending on the impact and disposition of any given situation.

Consider the brand voice a non-negotiable guide and the brand tone as having a spectrum, depending on the message being delivered, the energy around the message, and the receiver, whether that be internal, external, or investors.

3. Brand Grammar: 

The brand grammar sets the specific rules and guidelines for how messaging is structured and delivered so that regardless of where the message comes from within the business, it is always consistent.

Brand grammar may include things like:

  • Do you use specific abbreviations or acronyms
  • Do you use specific capitalization or lowercase?
  • Do you use contractions when speaking conversationally?
  • Are emojis used? Where and when?

4. Brand story: 

Knowing the brand story will help to inform the language and personality of the brand itself. Define the story behind your brand by asking yourself: who are we? What do we really do? Why? Who do we do it for? What do we stand for – and why does it matter?

Your brand story should read like a manifesto and really capture the essence of your business, and of its founding philosophies.

5. Brand Language: 

It’s not about what you say; it’s always how you say it.

Distinct brand language can include common terms and company language that is unique, for example, referring to employees as partners, customers as guests, or mental health emotional-wellbeing.

6. Can + Can’ts 

Your verbal identity should include a token list of can and cants when it comes to what your brand would or wouldn’t say.

For example, does your brand swear, use slang, and address certain public issues or controversial topics? Does your business say ‘no’ or ‘never’ or instead ‘let me look into that.’

7. Copywriting: 

Having all the guidance in the world won’t help if the words you write are hollow and don’t connect. Copywriters are experts at pulling your words together and helping to solve problems, make connections, and create real, tangible value. Words need to carry weight and meaning, and copywriters, well, they help do that.

So, ready to find out who the heck you are? Call us – we’re ready to help you find your voice!

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