In brand writing, it is often tempting for companies to fall into a trap of industry jargon and to attempt to use the most savvy, “SEO-driven,” “social media-friendly” language as possible. And while there is an undeniable strategy for crafting copy that checks each marketing item on a list, there is also an undeniable need for authenticity in a brand’s presentation.
Every couple of years, as technology changes and consumerism evolves, there is a shift in marketing expectations. What companies need from their marketing staff or consultants changes. The job description pivots. Activities like cold-calling are archaic; blanketed mass emails also seem impersonal and ineffective. According to Simply Measured, “Engagement” (e.g., likes, shares, etc.) is considered the most important metric for evaluating social media marketing success, with 80% of marketers identifying it as one of the top three metrics (the other two include, udience size (61%) and website traffic (56%)).
Part of the participative engagement process is customers’ need to hear a good story. They don’t want the same generic, feature-driven language. They want to hear about the impetus behind the brand, to hear the vulnerability and the passion in the founders’ voices, to read all of the vibrant and real human interest nuggets that go with the story. It is not something that can be faked, it has to be legitimate and experienced.
“Be yourself. The world worships the original.” – Ingrid Bergman
People are really good at sniffing out copy that lacks true enthusiasm and consistency. Just like we are hard wired to screen calls from unknown numbers, we are also getting better and better at denying companies that don’t speak from the soul.
One of my favorite writing projects this week has been developing brand copy and messaging points for Natalie Fox – NYC – a collection of luxury, knitted bags for ambitious, on-trend city women. The founders have worked tirelessly to bring this collection to market, but they do not want to hurry or scramble the copy development so close to the finish line. The founders know exactly the type of woman they have designed the bag for, and have done hundreds of hours of research, development and strategy over the past year. This intrinsic understanding takes time, patience and reflection. You would not rush the development of your product or service, so don’t rush the foundational messaging.
The next time you sit down at your computer: visualize the people you wish to speak to, take time to craft the language to truly resonate, and communicate without pretense.