Entries Tagged 'Branding' ↓

Are Taglines a Things of the Past?

A tagline has always been seen as an important part of your brand’s marketing, regardless of your company’s size.

In a few short well-chosen words, it sums up your brand’s promise, but is it still relevant today?

Just look at some of the biggest companies around like Amazon, Apple, eBay and Google, they don’t rely on taglines, their logo is enough to instil the values they hold dear.

OK, the chances of your business commanding the same kudos in your industry is unlikely (you don’t have their marketing budget for a start), but if they can go tagline-less can you?

More and more companies are moving away from them, but is that because the vast majority of taglines are, well, not to put too finer point on it, bad?

Is there a value in taglines?

Look at is this way, advertising is moving away from selling. Overt sales pitches don’t cut it any more (did they ever?). Consumers want to be wooed; they want to be shown how great their life will become if they buy your product. In other words, your marketing has to be all about them and not about you.

The inclusion of a tagline however, creates a hook that attaches itself to their mind permanently telling them:

  • I’m lovin’ it – McDonalds
  • Just do it – Nike
  • We’re better connected – 02
  • Every little helps – Tesco
  • It gives you wings – Red Bull
  • The make-up of make-up artists – Max Factor
  • 8 out of 10 cats prefer it – Whiskas

A good tagline can permanently cement itself from childhood, who doesn’t remember the Frosties, They’re Grrrrrrreat!

It instantly conveys what your brand stands for and your customers’ attitude towards it.

How to create a winning tagline

Only time will tell if you’ve come up with a cracker, but here are a few tips to try and get you on the right course.

  • Do you want it to reflect your values or your product/service?
  • Does it reflect the emotions and feelings of your customers?
  • Does it gel with your businesses ideology?
  • Use simple language without any jargon
  • Will it date quickly or does it have longevity?
  • Is it memorable?

Ultimately, ask yourself whether it adds value to your brand?

If you’re really struggling to come up with something perhaps it’s worth going to market without one.

In time, as your business grows and you understand it better (and your customers), you can always do a mini rebrand exercise and introduce one.


Why You Shouldn’t Sound Like a Corporate

Does this sound familiar?

“Through our organisational changes we’ll strategically transition towards a more customer centric approach. Going forward, by leveraging KPIs this paradigm shift will cultivate a results orientated environment cultivating workable growth strategies.”


This is the kind of wording corporates love. Their marketers think it makes them sound impressive and worth every penny of their excessive fees.

They’re wrong.

All they’re doing is using a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.

It doesn’t tell their reader anything about them, how they are going to help them or what benefits they will bring.

They will even go to far as to say their clients expect them to write that way.


Do you think anyone wants to read that stuff?

Presenting your marketing in that style makes me (the reader) think that actually you have no idea what you’re talking about. Especially when I ask for clarification and your response is a barrage of alternative marketing terms that also mean nothing.

The problem is that because it’s become so ingrained in the corporate world if you don’t speak it you’re seen as an outsider.

So what happens if you run a small business and have to sell to corporates?

Dare to be different

Most companies try to emulate this incomprehensible style of writing because they think it’s the only way they’ll be taken seriously by their target audience.

Well, I think it’s down to the smaller business to show these behemoths how it should be done.

  • Don’t tell them permanent recruitment is your core competency; tell them you know a lot about permanent recruitment.
  • Don’t start a dialogue with them; talk to them.
  • Don’t tell them how you utilise your resources; show them how you use them.
  • Don’t tell them you have multiple strengths you can leverage; tell them you have lots of great resources that will help them.

Keep it simple

Yes, your marketing must be targeted to your audience, but in relation to the benefits you offer them.

When it comes to language, keeping it simple and conversational will win every time.

By showing empathy and how you’re going to make their life better will be understood no matter how educated your reader is or how high up the ladder they are in their organisation.

They just want to know you understand their problem and have the solution to make it go away.

Just tell them how it is in plain English.



The Quick Guide to Running a Corporate Blog

Corporate blog gate keeper


Corporate blogs drive traffic to your site, raise your company’s profile and show you customers that you are a market leader.

They are also a complete pain.


In two words: multiple contributors.

On the face of it you probably think that’s a good thing because it means one person isn’t left to produce all the copy.

You’d be wrong.

Multiple contributors mean major headaches, because chasing them for content is a bit like herding cats.

There’s also another problem – continuity, or rather the lack of it.

Many voices cause confusion

Every company has a brand voice.

When you have multiple contributors, that single identity gets lost and you end up with a vast array of writing styles that create a cacophony of noise that will put readers off.

Plus, you’ll find that some people are naturally gifted writers, whereas others are not.

Some can write in engaging, simple language that everyone can understand.

Others only write in complex terms that result in a meaningless article that leaves everyone scratching their head.

How can you get round this problem and create a successful and long lasting corporate blog?

Streamline your blogging process

The answer is not to get one person to do all the writing because your blog will need to cover a number of different subject areas and one person is unlikely to be able to write everything.

That’s why the best solution is to have a blog Gate Keeper.

The posts are written by your own subject matter experts and then passed to your Gate Keeper.

It is then their job to:

  • Copyedit each article to bring in line with the brand voice
  • Tweak them to make them more readable (i.e. by adding sub headings etc.)
  • Source images to bring the subject matter to life
  • Add elements of SEO

The end result is a healthy blog that’s regularly update with readable articles.

Whether this is done in-house or outsourced, it is the best way to make sure your corporate blog remains healthy and popular.


Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting


Is Your Voice Matching Your Product?

Tone of voice

The tone of voice you use across your marketing will dictate how your customers view you.

Too stiff and formal and you’ll come across aloof and unfriendly; too casual and street and you’ll be seen as a bit flaky, a company that can’t be taken seriously.

That’s why it’s important to work out who you are from the outset.

Factors that will affect your tone of voice

Before I get into that, there’s something you must remember.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or whom you do it for, never ever use jargon or industry speak in your writing.

There’s a tendency for many businesses to create random sentences formulated from impressive sounding words because they want to appear aspirational or intelligent. Well, your readers aren’t stupid. After reading your lofty prose they’ll realise it has no meaning or substance and is just there for fluff because you couldn’t think of anything else to say.

Right, back to those factors.

For starters you must know:

  • Who you are and what you stand for
  • Who your customers are
  • What you’re selling
  • Why they would buy from you
  • The benefits you offer them

You can’t develop a tone of voice without that information because if you don’t know who you are as a company how will you know the personality you want to convey? If you don’t know what you’re selling or whom you’re selling to you won’t know the language you’ll need to sell it. And if you don’t know what your product is, or the benefits it offers, you’ll just be wasting your time creating content that’s meaningless.

Your tone of voice

If you’re a B2B business selling professional services of some sort or another, your language will be more formal than if you sold bespoke surfboards.

For starters, your audiences will be poles apart, but that doesn’t mean as a B2B business you have to be starchy and corporate just because you’re not selling a cool product.

On the contrary, even though you’re pitching to businesses, it’s real people that will be doing the buying. Whenever real people are involved (and that would be in every sales scenario) their buying decision will be mainly emotionally driven.

That means your content must evoke an emotional response. If your product or service saves them time that means they get to spend more time with their friends and family. If it saves money it means their business will run leaner, generating more profit that ultimately, means more earning potential.

See what I mean?

Getting back to the actual language, in the surfboard scenario it would be perfectly reasonable to see the odd “dude” in the copy. Try that as a B2B and you’ll be laughed at, but that doesn’t mean your language has to be staid and boring.

Remember, a real person will read your writing. It doesn’t matter how educated they are, it’s important to keep your language simple, unambiguous and conversational.

Why conversational?

Because that drives engagement, has personality and is better received than formal writing.

Many people shy away from writing with personality (i.e. conversationally) because goes against everything they’ve ever learned. That’s a real shame because it works.

Look at this post. I’ve written it as though you were sat in front of me and we were talking about tone of voice. By the way, that’s a great tip for nailing conversational writing – imagine you’re sat opposite a customer and talk to them about your product, writing as you do so. You’ll be amazed at how engaging your writing becomes.


What’s the moral of this blog post?

  • It doesn’t matter who you are or whom you’re trying to sell to, your writing must have personality if you want it to work
  • Use language that’s appropriate to your market
  • Stay away from jargon and industry speak
  • Keep your vocabulary simple
  • Remember you are writing for a real person
  • Write conversationally to boost engagement
  • You can only achieve the right tone of voice if you know who you are, what you’re selling, who your customers are the benefits your product or service offer

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

How to Develop Your Brand Voice

brand voice

What is a brand voice?

Basically, it’s the way your brand sounds to your readers.

That’s as clear as mud.

OK, look at it this way. When it comes to branding, the look, feel and words that you use have to work together to create an overall impression.

You probably have a pretty good idea of how you want your audience to see you. It could be as a high end brand, one that is innovative (Apple springs to mind) etc.

So where do words come into it?

Well, they have to paint a picture that is in line with your imagery, but there is one very important thing to remember.

What is it?

Your customer.

Even though you know how you want to be perceived, it’s just as important to understand how you want your customer to feel.

You may have lofty ideas of the type of language you want to use, but is it going to be right for your audience?

Think about who they are, why they would be interested in what you’re offering and what’s important to them. When you know that, you can tailor your writing to show them how you’re going to help them live the life they want to live.

It’s also important, especially when branding for a high end product, to show them why it’s so good. That doesn’t mean justifying the price tag, but rather highlighting the benefits it will bring:

  • A sign of discernment
  • Professional image
  • Improve performance

It is the words that you use that will evoke an emotional connection to your brand. They will show your audience that your values are the same as their values and that by supporting your brand they are showing the world they are aligned with what you stand for.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd