“Brand language” is a common term used in businesses to describe a brand’s identity in visual form. By using words and images, a brand can define its tone and purpose or use it to reference its products. Extensive research and consistency are needed to adopt a branding strategy.
How to use brand language in your business
In the very consumer-centric business environment of today, companies invest a lot of money in brand language to stand out and relate to the consumer. So much so that independent design agencies like Manchester based agency Shape have grown over the years to accommodate sectors across the board from finance to F&B.
Read on to see how the biggest brands in the world leverage from the power of brand language, and how it may inspire you to tailor your brand identity to your target market as well!
Starbucks: Functional and expressive
Brands can utilize function to organize things clearly in a way that anticipates customer needs, making the experience more enjoyable and seamless. You can see this in Starbucks plainly. Most of its marketing includes short, punchy copy, green backgrounds, and bolt text.
Not only is it easy to read, but it’s also expressive. Starbucks doesn’t hold back its personality. Instead, they communicate with their audience directly by promoting passion and truth.
Mailchimp: Genuine and humorous
In our modern landscape, customers don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to. That’s why Gen Z tends to prefer brands that speak in a conversational tone. At the same time, they don’t want brands speaking down to them. Injecting a bit of humor, as Mailchimp does, is also a positive.
However, most brands can’t pull off humor, especially when it’s dry or subtle. You have to make a genuine attempt to make people laugh. Otherwise, you’ll come off as cringy and out of touch.
Harley-Davidson: Confident and aggressive
Some brands can capitalize on short-hand or the ability to let public perspective speak for you. Harley-Davidson knows that people associate motorcycles with coolness, confidence, and strength, so their product speaks for them. Still, it wouldn’t work if their tone was try-hard.
Your brand has to actually be confident, rather than cocky, to pull this off. Harley-Davidson does this perfectly by using bold colors, unique fonts, and photography that exudes rebellion.
Coca-Cola: Positive and friendly
Coca-cola has changed over the years, but its brand language has almost always been positive, down-to-earth, and approachable. Despite using the color red, which is often linked with aggression, everyone associates Coca-Cola with happiness, family, and a good life.
From their “Have a Coke With…” campaigns to their Christmas Polar Bears, it’s hard not to think about togetherness when having a Coke. This makes the brand difficult to miss or avoid.
Tiffany & Co.: Witty and elegant
There are millions of jewelry brands out there, so why is Tiffany & Co. always relevant? Tiffany & Co. isn’t all about the blue box; it’s the witty, elegant, and classic brand tone that makes them stand out. This gives the jewelry company an edge that isn’t often seen in other luxury lines.
Brands must be unique to stand out from their competition, and Tiffany & Co. knew how to do this by looking at its own competitors. Your brand can do the same with a bit of research.
Uber: Considerate and simple
There are some brands that are more known for their simplicity rather than their uniqueness. With so many companies reaching for the top spot, the best thing to do is to be simple, direct, honest, and considerate. This brand language also describes what Uber offers perfectly.
Hospitality brands can write using a straightforward tone that tells their audience that they’re the focus, not the brand. When your audience feels heard, they’re more likely to connect with you.
Every brand is different, so it’s not easy to offer branding language advice to businesses without knowing their culture, mission, or audience. However, you can use examples from top brands to develop style guidelines, an audience-first language, and a format your customers will love.