News

The importance of copy in branding

27th February 2024

Is copy the unsung hero of brand marketing?

Love your brand? Thank the copywriter.

At Proctor + Stevenson we celebrate all creative work, and it’s all about the collaboration. Each successful campaign is a brilliant balancing act of copy, design, digital ingenuity, expert project management and the client’s goals. But we’ve noticed, outside of our creative bubble, that copy’s involvement is often sadly underestimated.

Now, before you get your tiny violin out for our copywriters, they’re doing fine. In fact, we’ve got a thriving team here at P+S that takes care of everything from UX, SEO and content creation to brand positioning, ad concepts and video scripts.

But there often seems to be a misconception that copywriters are, first and foremost, content creators, blog writers or comms specialists. Our clients are often surprised (and hopefully delighted) by how heavily involved our copywriters are – in everything from information architecture and UX design to brand strategy and campaign concepting.

So why is copy so important when it comes to branding?

We often think of brand as a congregation of visual elements – logos, fonts, colour palettes etc. And these are critical components. But good branding is more than just a pretty face – it’s strategic, carefully considered messaging.

It’s your company’s personality – bridging the gap between head and heart. Which is why it can have such an impact on your performance and position within the market.

“…good branding is more than just a pretty face – it’s strategic, carefully considered messaging…”

Think of your brand as a 3D reflection of your business with many different faces – like a Rubik’s cube. Along with the logo, colour palette, fonts and marks, your brand is represented by your mission, vision, purpose and your voice – the elements our copywriters craft with care behind the scenes. And all things that should shine through consistently across every touchpoint.

“…a copywriter builds the foundation for your brand, without which it wouldn’t even stand up, never mind standing out…”

With the visual elements of your brand – you attract, entice and captivate. But with your voice, you engage, persuade and compel. And engagement is what humanises, builds trust and – ultimately – makes the sale. If branding is about connecting with your audience, the way you communicate, or your tone of voice, is just as important as your visual identity. A copywriter builds the foundation for your brand, without which it wouldn’t even stand up, never mind standing out.‍

What do we mean by tone of voice?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Your tone of voice (ToV) is the way your brand speaks to its audience – the unique characteristics that set your communications apart.

Are you bold and confident like Apple? Motivational and inspiring like Nike? Are you adventurous and rebellious like RedBull?‍

Why you need an outstanding ToV

Just like when you meet a person for the first time, the way a business communicates can seriously impact a consumer’s first impression. It can also become the foundation for your ongoing relationship. In both B2C and B2B marketing, ToV is what keeps your company communications authentic, trustworthy and engaging.

“…a first-class ToV guide is what keeps your brand feeling, and sounding, real. It’s the basis of all the conversations you have with your customers going forward…”

A first-rate ToV guide is what keeps your brand feeling, and sounding, real. It’s the basis of all the conversations you have with your customers going forward. When putting your tone of voice guidelines together, the copywriter will ensure your business can consistently represent itself in a way that gives the right first impression, builds trust, and nurtures relationships. It will also help you stand out in your market for the right reasons – whether that’s because you’re more disruptive, more reliable or more knowledgeable than competitors, for example.

When it comes to building trust with your audience, consistency is key. And unfortunately, visual consistency just won’t cut it. So we pack our guidelines with clear and useful information, making sure anyone who speaks on behalf of your brand can talk the talk.

But why a copywriter?

You might have studied English at university. You’re probably well read. You’re certainly intelligent. Maybe you’ve worked in marketing for many years, writing a vast proportion of the comms and content. So why would you trust a copywriter to do it better than you?

It’s simple really – because copywriters are the experts. They know what sells. They know what compels. They know what converts. That’s what they’re trained to do.

“…from your USPs to your KPIs, we’ve always got your best interests at heart – and we know what interests your target audience…”

In the same way that anyone can create a Squarespace website or an AI-generated image, anyone can write copy. But if you want a site that’s tailored to your needs and built with your business in mind, you need a great digital designer or UX expert. If you need a unique graphic language to set your brand apart, you need a graphic designer. Your brand’s story and tone of voice are no different – you need a copywriter.

Some of the best brand campaigns are copy-led

Imagine Nike without ‘Just do it.’ Remember Specsavers before ‘should’ve gone to…’?

And what if L’Oreal hadn’t told you ‘you’re worth it.’ Sure, these brands would all still exist, but there’s no doubt their success, memorability and share of market is, in part, down to clever copywriting and brilliant brand-led campaigns.

And here’s one from the history books. In 1911, Morton began adding an anti-caking agent to their salt, making it what the brand called the ‘first free-flowing salt.’ Presumably what came before was prone to clumping, shortening its useful shelf life.

Three years later, the brand came out with the slogan: ‘When it rains, it pours’ and introduced the Morton Salt Girl.

On its website, Morton notes that many branding enthusiasts and authorities called this combination ‘one of the greatest branding triumphs of all time’.‍

Any copywriter worth their salt…

Very often, it’s the copywriter who writes your mission, vision and purpose statements. They often write your values, capture your personality – which will later be visualised by our designers – and craft your tone of voice.

Without all of this, your brand would be a hollow shell – beautiful on the outside, but with no signs of life or pearls of wisdom to offer. And your audience will see right through it.

“Copywriters at Proctor + Stevenson wear many hats. We write marketing material, of course –ads, brochures, e-books, newsletters, video scripts. If there are words, we’ve written them. But we also strategise, plan content, craft creative concepts for ad campaigns, and we play a pivotal role in branding projects.”

Our team gets involved from the outset of a branding campaign, gathering insight on your company’s (current and aspirational) personality, values, mission and modus operandi. From your USPs to your KPIs, they get to know your business inside-out.‍

Need help building your brand?

Whether you need advice or support with positioning, visual identity, a digital refresh, or all of the above, we’re here to help. Get in touch and book a free consultation today.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +44 (0)117 923 2282

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About Proctor + Stevenson

Game-changing strategy, creative and technology that means more impact for your marketing. And more power to your business.

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