Recently a writer wanted her copy critiqued for an email lead generation campaign. It was for a watch targeted to bodybuilders.
The writing style was “upbeat and cheerful.”
Hey, wait a minute. That feels off to me…
I looked at the company name and wasn’t familiar with the brand. But “upbeat and cheerful” wasn’t what I would expect from a watch targeting bodybuilders.
When it comes to brands, I have a finely tuned radar. It comes from years working as a brand development strategist for MTV, Nickelodeon, The Sharper Image, and many other well-known properties.
Curiosity kicked in and I took a look at the watch company’s website. It had a distinctive feel to it, but it wasn’t upbeat and cheerful…
What I saw was all about strength, determination, and resolve… in a word, grit.
Big disconnect with the tone of the email copy.
The kind that will cost you sales.
Not only that… there’s a much bigger opportunity cost, too.
It’s the difference between making a sale and creating an ongoing relationship with your prospect. The kind that leads to ongoing sales.
The only way to do this is to make sure your writers start with an understanding of your brand. That way, their copy will both generate sales and build a stronger connection with your prospect by building your brand equity.
Haven’t yet thought about the brand behind your product? You should. Because it’s your brand that fuels your product.
It gives your prospects something to know, like and trust about you that goes way beyond the product alone.
Now I’m not talking about a brand logo or some kind of visual identity. This is all about your brand’s emotional identity.
It’s that “feeling” a customer gets when they engage with your company or product.
Whether you’ve thought about it or not, the fact is, you are sending out a brand message.
And if it’s not one you’ve taking the time to craft yourself and intentionally communicate to your prospects, you may not like the message they’re picking up.
So what should you do? The best way to go about this is to take a page out of the brand development playbook. It all starts with a thorough…
To engage your prospects in an ongoing way, your brand has to have meaning to them. Every consumer touch point is an opportunity to reinforce it.
And there’s no better place to do this than in your copy.
While there is a lot that goes into developing a brand, there are 3 things your copywriter needs to know so they can infuse the copy with your brand and its message:
1. What’s your brand’s DNA? This is made up of its core values and what it stands for. Ultimately, your brand should have a promise that resonates with your prospect on an emotional level.
Let’s take a brand I used to work with as an example: The Sharper Image.
Remember those stores with the James Bond-like gadgets? People loved to go in and browse because there was always something fun and unexpected.
The Sharper Image was about making innovative products that went beyond objects… they were experiences. They were both functional and aspirational. The true test of their products wasn’t about what they did, but how they made you feel.
Now let’s take a look at your brand…
- Can you explain why your company was created? What problem or desire does it address?
- Can you describe your company’s core values?
- How do your specific products/services fit into this larger story?
- Can you clearly articulate how you want your prospects to feel when they engage with your company/products?
- Can you explain in one sentence why your prospect should buy from you instead of your competitor?
Answering these questions will help you form your brand promise… it’s what customers will come to expect from you. Delivering on that promise consistently is how brands are built.
2. What’s your brand’s personality? Just like a person, your brand has a personality. Everything you do needs to reflect it. Your prospects should immediately have a sense of it when they think about your products, look at your website or read any of your copy.
To give you an idea of what I mean, let’s look at the personalities of some brands:
The Sharper Image has a distinct personality that can be described as innovative, sleek, smart, and fun.
The personality of Starbucks is outgoing, youthful, personable, and friendly.
Apple’s personality is innovative, casual, friendly, easy-going, stylish, cool, and intuitive.
Notice that these evoke feelings. And even though they may share some common personality traits, it’s the group of traits that distinguishes brands from each other.
Your turn… Can you describe the specific traits of your brand? Imagine it’s a person you want to introduce to someone. What would you say about it?
3. What does your brand sound like? Your brand’s voice communicates your brand’s personality (so they can sometimes be described similarly). Your brand voice needs to be authentic and consistent.
The brand voice of The Sharper Image is a blend of smart, yet fun. It’s transformational and optimistic, but it’s also human.
Coca-Cola’s brand voice is positively happy.
- Can you describe the kind of tone that reflects your brand’s personality? (Hip, controversial, compassionate, friendly…)
- Can you explain to a writer what kind of language the brand uses? (Formal, informal, technical, slang…)
Take the time to answer these questions. It will become your compass in many ways.
And once you’ve fleshed out your brand’s DNA, its personality and voice, it should be documented in a brand guide. Share it internally and with relevant external partners (especially your writers). This is the best way to ensure consistency in your brand message.
If you are a copywriter ask your clients to give you a brand guide as part of your initial discovery conversation. If they don’t have one, take the time to ask them the above questions. Then by connecting the brand’s values to the prospect’s values, you will create powerfully enticing copy.
Need help deconstructing your brand? Grab a copy of Brand Magnetism – 3 simple steps to attracting prospects… and keep them coming back for more. It will show you exactly what to do. Grab your copy here. It’s FREE.