Not that long ago, I was called by the marketing director of nationally recognized organization to do some writing. They needed someone local to help develop and write a couple of large campaigns and the projects encompassed several months. While creativity was definitely called for, so was continuity of the brand.
This organization has a “look” to all of their advertising, same basic layout, same logo, same color scheme, and same tag line. But what might not be as readily obvious is the “tone” of all of their marketing materials. Every single piece of written material and every single word of radio and TV they have carries this “tone” so that means the verbiage and way things are worded carry the same message, building brand recognition.
Carrying this tone throughout all materials provides a degree of continuity in a brand’s advertising that, over time, will help that brand come to stand for something specific in the mind of the consumer. Paying as much attention to the copy as the design can also help a brand achieve distinctiveness and stature in a competitive market.
So guess what. For the first few days on the project, I simply studied everything this organization had done in the past couple of years. The marketing director handed me a stack of materials when we met, and we both knew that it was my job to read and reflect their style. How do they word this? How do they word that? Turn of phrase here? Style there. Crucial, crucial stuff for a copywriter, and UNIMAGINABLY IMPORTANT to a business owner.
Copy is an essential part of advertising, and a key element of your brand. It needs to reflect continuity in any and all communications you have with your customers or potential customers. From the beginning it is crucial that you set a tone, and you use the same style of writing and verbiage throughout your websites, advertisements, TV, radio, and collateral materials, making sure they all reflect the same style.
Imagine how confusing it would be if you wrote the home page on your website, your spouse tackled the about and services, your mother-in-law wrote the blog, you hired a writer to just do your brochure, and you didn’t talk to anyone else on the project. Where would the tone be? Would it all look like it was written by the same person, or would it look like a class project gone haywire?
Continuity goes far beyond the tag line, it is the verbiage and phrasing you use throughout all of your communications, and is the foundation for your business communications and your brand. Yes, this can and should evolve over time, but in the beginning you want to exhibit professionalism and set the tone.
If you are tackling your writing initially by yourself, the most important thing you can do is make sure it looks like the same person wrote it, and not some random band of gypsies that can spell.
You can do this, all you have to do is set the tone.