One of my colleagues is a lover of portmanteaus. I have never really caught onto its subtle power, but when I was writing today’s post, I was inspired to create a new term for a new era.
You see, it has become apparent to me that while marketers spend a large amount of money (and time) having their visual brand identities designed into glossy (or is it matte these days?) finish printed ‘brand bible’, the identity of their brand’s written identity gets a scant page in the book – as if it is an afterthought of the whole identity. Somehow, what the brand says isn’t as important as the 4 pages on logo protective space! Yet, getting your linguistic style down is not only a cost-effective brand exercise, it is vital to the survival of your brand in the age of content.
Looks can be deceiving
You can look high-class, dress with style, and keep your brand’s visual identity right on trend. But, if your brand speaks like a thug, or (worse) uses language that is neither the right style, nor the correct vocabulary to fit your audience, you are probably appearing like the well-styled party goers who opens his classy-looking mouth only to reveal he is a boor (or a bore).
Wordentity – your identity in words
This new movement is a way to redress this apparent oversight. It’s elocution lessons for businesses that want to look and SOUND like the brands they are. No sense having a website that fails readers with generic platitudes. A wordentity will empower your brand, giving it the power of words to match the speed of the visual.
You might call a wordentity a ‘content strategy’. It gives your content context, meaning, and raison d’etre. It’s the brand book for writers, content contributors, editors, freelancers, email writers, bloggers, comment-ers, advertising copywriters, and any one else you work with who creates the words that give your identity meaning for your audience.
How do I make a Wordentity as a content strategy?
To give the same care and attention to a wordentity that visual books get, we need to spend time getting the pieces right. But, I think for a start, I would want to include:
- Tone of Voice – what do you sound like? Inspiring? Supportive? Emotional? Angry?
- Manner and Language – how do you put your words together? What kind of language do you use? Colloquial? Educated? Streetwise?
- Style – do you use certain terms that might be confused with other industries (ATP)? Do you reject certain terms (spellings) for others? Are you an Internet or internet business? Do you email or e-mail?
- Good and Bad Examples – this is key to any identity manual. Show the writers example of what you expect, and of what you reject. If it ‘ain’t’ your brand, show them why.