How Branding Affects Writing Style
How exactly do we integrate what we know about the brand into the sales letters, ads, e-mails, and other promotional pieces we create? The primary effect that brand has on copywriting is the personality or tone of the copy. Like people, most brands have a personality — a way of communicating that is distinctive. Ever notice how Apple Computer commercials always seem fun, creative, and playful? That brand's personality is centered around the core theme that Mac's are easy to use. And this theme is carried over into the copy for their commercials, Web pages, brochures, and advertising.
A law firm brand, on the other hand, might be stern and serious — a threat to any other law firm that opposes them in court. As the copywriter, your writing style and tone would then be authoritative and decisive; consistent with the brand.
Wouldn't all law firms be marketed this way? Not necessarily. The USP of a different law firm might be: “The divorce law specialists who guide individuals and families through tough times.” The brand personality here is more supportive and caring than the previous example. Your copy would need to have a caring tone. “We're here to help you through this crisis while protecting your rights.”
Look at some of the advertising and other promotional materials for products you know well. A sunny travel destination may be described as fun, adventurous, and exotic. The words used in a real estate agent's ad might emphasize speed and proficiency. An ad for a carpet cleaning company might emphasize care, thoroughness, and modern equipment.
All of these companies probably went through some strategic exercise, like the USP or positioning statement tools featured earlier, to try to work out what is distinctive about their products or services. “What's so special about us?” they asked. “And how can we communicate that effectively to our target audience?”
That's the advantage of a strong brand message. It acts as both a theme and a touchstone to guide the writer through the creation of the promotional materials. It helps you stay on message.