The power of words in branding

Words are the foundation of much of human communication. Two political campaigns in 2016, on either side of the Atlantic, have demonstrated the power of words.

But when it comes to building a brand, words are often overlooked and everybody focuses on colour and shapes. The power of words in branding is ignored. The logo is the hero – everything else takes second place.

Politics in the US and the UK has seen the power of words in 2016… the power of being able to distill your key idea into a short, memorable message:

“Make America great again” captured the imagination of the American public, and helped to bring Donald Trump a surprise victory in the US presidential election.

“Take control” gave the Leave campaign clarity and helped deliver an unexpected victory in the EU Referendum in the UK.

These are two examples of a simple message that captured the purpose of the campaign they supported, and resonated with their target audience. (Whether you agree with that purpose, the effectiveness of the message can’t be denied).

When it comes to brand communication in business, it’s images, not words, that are the focus. Everybody wants to see the logo. Words are relegated to a supporting role, a catchy strapline, usually under the logo:
“Just do it.”
“Have a break. Have a KitKat.”
“Never knowingly undersold.”
“The future’s bright. The future’s Orange.”

But words have so much more to offer a brand than a clever linguistic hook. Words – the right words – can bring focus and clarity to a brand. Whether you’re reaching out to clients and customers, or talking to your staff, words can capture your purpose and drive engagement.

“Our aim is to provide the finest, most technologically advanced power systems.”

Rolls Royce
“We improve the lives of people affected by cancer.”
Macmillan Cancer Support

To capture the purpose that drives your business in a few words isn’t easy. It takes time. But don’t under estimate the power of words in branding. Get your message right and it can make huge impact. Just ask Donald Trump.

To chat about defining your message, or making better use of words, drop Jonathan an email.


Photo: Flickr – Stefan Fussan © Creative Commons