Verbal identity: building brand from the word

Curiously, and contrary to what many people think, at Estudio Punto Alto we like to say that our branding projects start from words.

Our most complex job is actually to enter a client's house, understand how it is, how it works, what makes it different and know how to summarize it in one word: that brandword that is the essence and synthesizes its value proposition, that meaning to the that we must be faithful throughout the project.

However, and despite the enormous relevance of words throughout the brand creation process, when we speak of identity, in a high percentage of cases there is a transnomination or metonymy effect. We take a part for the whole and define as identity what is really only a part of it: the visual identity. The second ingredient in the equation, and just as important as the first, is verbal identity. Both must work in a coherent and coordinated way to transmit the personality we want for our brand.

Brands speak like people

But, let us start at the beginning. Modern branding has an anthropological approach, that is, it is based on the fact that the relationships between brands and people are built in a similar way to how relationships between people are built.

Based on that, let's think about what happens when we meet a person for the first time. We look at how he is externally, such as his physical features, his hairstyle, how he is dressed, and based on that we make a mental composition of how that person can be. This level of approach is equivalent to that provided by the visual identity of a brand. The logo, colors, typographic uses and visual universe of the brand are “the suit” with which we dress our brand, which defines its external appearance.

Continuing with the previous example, we will achieve a second deeper level of knowledge of that person by hearing him speak. What he says, what topics interest him; if you use a light-hearted or more formal vocabulary; if your tone of voice is warm and suggestive or flat and distant; if you speak quickly or slowly; if it is fun or it bores us mortally ... All those factors of the personality of a stranger are within our reach simply by listening to him speak for a while.

The same thing happens with brands: brands speak to their audiences just as people do. The way to answer by picking up the phone, a press release, texts on a website, the CEO's speech, notices to employees, notifications to customers, the voice of the protagonists of an advertising spot, or that of the narrator of a corporate video… Thousands and thousands of daily interactions with voice and word as protagonists make up our way of speaking as a brand.

How to build our verbal identity

Verbal identity is the way in which we give life to our brand, and allows dialogue with our audiences. It is one of the brand building tools that most connects with people and that best allows us to build a perception of who we are. Through verbal identity we not only define what to say and to whom to do it. We also define how, and we do it consistently with our value proposition, with the first word we select as a brand word, with our brand personality and with the behaviors we want to project.

In the definition of a verbal identity we take into account three basic aspects:

The voice with her we describe the personality of the brand. A voice of a sweet character, or firm or funny, provokes different emotional responses and you must align yours with the personality of your brand.

The tone defines how we are going to use that voice in different contexts or situations. Depending on who we are talking to (audience) or the topic at hand, we can shape our voice with a different tone: more informative, more assertive, more emotional ... the same as we would do when interacting with different people. Responding to a customer complaint is not the same as informing them about a new offer or promotion. Our voice will be the same, but the tone we adopt to transmit that information changes to empathize with whoever is in front of us.

Style is the set of rules on which messages are built. Following the thread of coherence that we always talk about when referring to brand building, we will delimit the stylistic resources and the vocabulary that we are going to use: lists of synonyms of the meanings that we want to transfer; consider whether we will write simple phrases to denote simplicity, or with connectors and subordinates to develop a more elaborate and intellectual discourse: decide whether we will talk about you or you ... All these aspects will define the way in which we are going to convey our message and a good choice will multiply its effectiveness.

Your way of speaking identifies and differentiates you

Verbal identity is becoming increasingly relevant as a strategic brand building tool because in many cases it allows reaching a higher level of differentiation. The Spanglish that characterized Vueling in its beginnings; or the silences, the pause, and the reflective tone of Banco Sabadell in its “Conversations” that it now transfers to its new project “New Times”, made us recognize these brands among a million and clearly differentiate them from their direct competitors.

When the voice is the brand

In addition, the unstoppable boom of voice assistants must be taken into account. Siri, Alexa, or Cortana are the beginning of a new way of relating to our environment thanks to technology and brands must be prepared for it. In short, the voice will be one of the main points of contact of users with the brand: that voice that we will hear on the other side of the gadget on duty will be the brand for us. There are times to make the use of language and empathy our strategic allies.

At Estudio Punto Alto we do not understand branding projects without this fundamental element and we can help you in the development of your verbal identity. We speak?

IMG: Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

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