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Marketing and PR: How to get your brand message across
publication date: Jun 1, 2009
author/source: Danielle Simpson
Brands exist in words long before they are defined by logos so it’s ironic that a preoccupation with visual identity can result in a brand’s values getting lost in communication. This can happen because 1) language takes a back seat as too much attention is focused on creating eye-catching logos and 2) as companies grow, different divisions of the company handle different methods of communication – the company website, annual reports and press advertising – so opportunities for language synergy are lost. All this spells disaster for building brand power.
Companies like Disney have used branded words and phrases for over half a century and a recent study showed that over 80 per cent of the world’s population associate common words like ‘dreams’ and ‘magic’ with Disney. Similarly when Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman recognised, “If you have a body, you are an athlete,” his statement brought inspiration to ‘athletes’ across the world and consumers continue to act on Nike’s invitation to ‘Just Do It’.
Consistency is Key
Every company, whatever its size, can enhance brand power by integrating ‘branded language’ across all its media channels. There is no extra cost in doing so and the technique helps companies win customer loyalty. Essentially this means identifying the key words that reflect the ‘personality’ of your brand, and your product’s USP; then repeating them over and over in everything from advertising copy and digital media production to radio advertising and corporate communication. This develops a unique ‘tone of voice’ for your brand and is a bit like creating a visual identity in words.
Hamptons does this effectively with its ‘local knowledge, global property expertise’ strapline, among others, and when Ellisons set about promoting its award-winning ‘staging and marketing service’ the product was repackaged as ‘House Aid’ – a brand with personality. ‘House Aid’ not only connotes an invaluable level of assistance but its power is increased when used in conjunction with branded phrases like ‘we set the stage for results’ and ‘passionate about property’.
It takes years for words and phrases to be accepted as ‘belonging to a brand’ so rather than outlay the cost of reproducing all corporate communications at once, many companies choose to roll out their branded language strategy over time, adding the words and phrases they ‘own’ to any new communications as they are produced. Firms following this strategy can begin to instil branded language immediately and directors must take this ‘day-to-day’ aspect of branded language seriously. Fundamentally, this means ensuring staff ‘talk the talk’ and consistently communicate the company’s personality with clients and customers.
A branded language strategy works alongside visuals for maximum effect. This could mean displaying branded phrases prominently within high street offices, printing branded straplines across company folders and brochures, integrating the language within flash animation banners online or refreshing business cards to distribute a message more effectively. ‘Every little helps’ – it has certainly helped Tesco, which has recently reported a 15.1% increase in Group sales.
Companies invest in refreshing their existing logo, incorporating new brand messages. The ‘KitKat’ logo regularly becomes ‘Have a break, Have a KitKat’ in its own right, and one independent estate agent, Milestone Residential, utilises the message ‘Make Your Move with Milestone’ underneath its existing logo. Both examples speak volumes about the power of logos in communicating actions and emotions. They are not solely eye-
catching icons, they present opportunities to touch and persuade consumers which is why it’s vital companies consult a brand professional when cold-starting or rebranding a business.
Danielle has developed the brand language of many leading Estate Agents.