Writing for Your Brand: A Guide to Mastering the Art of Brand Copywriting
We’re all drawn to some people and repelled by others. Some prefer flashy, larger-than-life personalities, while others gravitate toward silent introspective types. Science plays a big part in this chemistry.
But have you ever thought about how these preferences extend into the digital world? That’s right; these choices transcend into the online realm as well. Some brands inspire instant trust, while others make your skin crawl.
But how do we assess personality in a world where we can’t see physical traits?
We can’t exactly judge them by the shape of their mustache.
So people scrutinize your brand identity, messaging, and copy to discern your brand personality. They’re constantly analyzing your copy’s style, tone, cadence, and language- consciously and subconsciously.
That’s where brand copywriting comes in.
It helps you consistently convey your brand’s personality to your customers.
What is brand copywriting?
Brand copywriting involves crafting enticing, entertaining, and enlightening copy that accurately represents a brand’s personality and meets business objectives. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that can help businesses differentiate themselves from competitors. Ultimately, branding through copywriting can positively impact content marketing, lead generation, and sales.
Examples of brands with great copywriting
Here are some examples of solid brand copywriting in action.
Appsumo is an online platform that brings new and upcoming software solutions to entrepreneurs for a discounted price. Their brand voice is casual, conversational, approachable, and humorous. Here’s an example of one of their product descriptions for a GDPR content management solution.
The colloquial language and references to the popular board game “Monopoly” and adding humor by saying there’s no get-out-of-jail-free card in real life make it consistent with their brand identity.
You’ll see the same voice in their emails, blog posts, social media posts, website copy, and other marketing messages.
Transactional emails are usually stiff and formal, but AppSumo makes them fun. For example, here’s an email they send when you buy software from their site. It’s clear but maintains Appsumo’s lighthearted brand voice by saying your business is close to taking over the world.
Death wish coffee
Death Wish Coffee’s brand voice can be described as bold, edgy, and irreverent. The company’s messaging is geared towards individuals looking for a strong, high-caffeine coffee that will help them power through their day.
Death Wish Coffee often uses humor and sarcasm in its marketing campaigns to convey a sense of rebellion against the status quo.
The brand copy stays consistent across all channels. Here’s an example of their social media copy, which has the same attitude and edgy tone as the rest of their brand content.
Now that we’ve looked at some extreme examples, let’s look at some toned-down brand voice examples.
Airbnb’s brand voice is straightforward, inclusive, thoughtful, and spirited. Here’s an example from their blog.
The phrase “Enjoy the Magic” and the reference to “Airbnb Experiences” suggest a sense of adventure and excitement, consistent with the spirited tone of Airbnb’s brand voice.
Here’s another section from the same blog post. See how they’ve mentioned that Airbnb connects the global community to handcrafted activities in the cities, which suggests a focus on bringing people together and promoting inclusivity. It goes on to say that Airbnb experiences enable hosts to keep earning during a disruptive time and how local partnerships help vulnerable people like isolated seniors, which reflects their thoughtful and compassionate approach.
Rolls Royce Phantom
As one of the most coveted luxury brands, Rolls Royce’s brand voice is a great example of luxury brand copywriting. It reflects the epitome of ultra-luxury, exclusivity, and craftsmanship. The tone and language used throughout the description of Phantom convey a sense of elegance, beauty, and sophistication. The language used by the luxury brand reflects the product’s attention to detail and precision, emphasizing how it is a collaborative masterpiece that honors the seamless symbiosis of nature, art, and science. The use of principles of biomimicry and handcrafted and digital weaving techniques further emphasizes the high-end craftsmanship and innovation that went into the product.
The brand voice also evokes a sense of awe and wonder that emphasizes how the product reimagines Rolls-Royce’s signature Starlight Headliner, which is elevated by the three-dimensional Weaving Water Headliner, a collaborative masterpiece.
The description notes the Bespoke shade exclusively developed for Phantom Syntopia and emphasizes its iridescent magnificence in sunlight. The exclusive use of Bespoke colors and materials reinforces the product’s exclusivity and uniqueness.
The description highlights the delicate display of hand-crafted glass organza petals to convey the high-end artistry of the product and the fluid design of the artwork that portrays the dynamic and flowing movement of water.
The brand voice emphasizes the product’s inspiration taken from “chronophotographic techniques” to convey how the design was influenced by the study of movement and the depiction of motion in art.
Overall, the brand voice reflects the precision and artisanship of the product, and its meticulous attention to detail, ultimately creating a sense of luxury, beauty, sophistication, and innovation. It’s the kind of language that would appeal to discerning art aficionados and collectors looking for a unique and high-end experience— or clueless rich people who want to appear sophisticated????.
Let’s look at a personal brand next. Marie is a celebrity entrepreneur, writer, and philanthropist dedicated to helping others become the best versions of themselves. Marie’s voice is personable, uplifting, optimistic, and empowering. Her message is centered on the belief that everyone has the power and ability to achieve their dreams and overcome obstacles.
Her personal brand copywriting is relatable and authentic because she uses personal stories and experiences. She is very transparent about her journey from humble beginnings to building a business that touches millions of people.
Marie’s message and voice are empowering because she emphasizes staying true to yourself and bringing your unique gifts and personality to succeed. Her brand inspires and encourages the reader to believe they can achieve greatness by taking meaningful action.
Overall, the brand voice conveys the message of hope, a sense of optimism, resilience, and possibility. It seeks to inspire and motivate the reader while also highlighting the importance of hard work and perseverance.
Types of brand copy
I’d say every single word you write representing your brand is brand copywriting. Sometimes it’s a long-form sales letter intended to sell your product, while other times, it’s a micro-copy on the website navigation or button. Just because the goal, length, or format of the copy differs, you can’t detach it from your brand.
- Technical copy: Notorious for being boring, technical copywriting provides information on a product by explaining its specifications, features, and instructions. Think technical manuals, installation instructions, or legal/privacy policies. This type of copy requires specialized knowledge and a professional copywriter with a knack for simplifying complex information.
- Social media copy: Social copywriting is writing for different social media platforms – like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. It’s important to tailor your copy to fit the platform you’re using while staying true to the voice and message of your brand. You have limited characters or space, so make sure each word is intentional.
- Video Copy: Video scripts are very different from other types of writing and require the writer to consider visual cues, camera angles, multiple voices, and sound effects. Most corporate brands rely on storyboarding to make sure the scripts are on time and on brand. Personal brands, on the other hand, are more likely to rely on improvisation, personal anecdotes, and natural dialogue.
- Direct response copy: Direct response includes any copy you write intending to convince your target audience to take a specific action like buying a product, signing up, or subscribing to something. Your sales copy, ad copy, sales-focused email marketing campaigns, and landing page copy all fall into this category.
- SEO copywriting: SEO copy aims to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results. SEO-focused articles should be backed by an SEO and brand content strategy to ensure the highest visibility and ROI.
- PR copy: PR copywriting is used to gain publicity and public attention by issuing press releases or crafting stories for magazines and newspapers. Organizations usually issue press releases to announce something newsworthy, such as launching a new product or service, acquiring another company, or an upcoming event.
- Product copywriting: product copywriting involves writing descriptions of products that highlight their unique features and benefits to customers.
- Transactional copy: transactional copy involves writing copy for communications following a commercial transaction, such as emails for order confirmations, shipping notifications, and payment receipts.
- Internal brand copy: Internal brand copy refers to material produced for internal distribution within a company, such as employee newsletters and intranet content. A company’s internal copy usually has the same tone of voice as its external copy but with some additional guidelines, like using “us” and “we” when referring to the company.
- Marketing copy: marketing copy is used to promote products or services, typically by persuading potential customers to buy them. It can include web page content, marketing collateral, white paper, blog posts, emails, advertising slogans, and more.
How to write effective brand copy?
There are some basic elements that all great brand copy has in common:
- Brand voice: Your brand voice is the unique personality you convey through the language you use. Tone can vary depending on the context or situation, but the voice remains constant. A solution is to create a copywriting style guide that lists your brand guidelines.
- Written for one reader: Good copy is always written for one reader. And no, it doesn’t mean you have to write each reader a personal letter. It simply means you must do enough customer research to find commonalities in your target audience. Despite our individuality, people can be grouped and generalized, as we’re all similar at our core (we’re all just apes in boots at the end of the day????). Once you nail this, you can tailor your messaging to match the needs and preferences of your audience.
- Clarity: People often choose cleverness over clarity, but cleverness should never come at the expense of clarity. If your copy isn’t clear, it has already failed its purpose. So, prioritize clarity over everything else.
- Storytelling: All stories don’t start with “Once up a time…,” but you can use the same structure: exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution. Use different storytelling frameworks in your copy to engage readers and help them connect with your message. Weave your brand story into the narrative to add authenticity and strengthen your message.
- Evokes emotion: Good copy elicits an emotional response from your target audience. It can be anger against something you oppose, joy at the success of something you championed, or nostalgia for a simpler time.
- Reflects brand essence: Your copy should reflect your brand strategy, including your brand positioning, purpose, messaging strategy, and values.
- Empathy: Good copywriting requires compassion and understanding of your audience’s needs. Put yourself in their shoes, know what they want, and decide how to communicate it effectively. Then, depending on the goal, your copy becomes informative, humorous, or persuasive aiming to educate, entertain, or inspire action.
Common pitfalls in brand copywriting
Copywriting is a key part of branding but can also be tricky. Here are a few mistakes that Brands commonly make with their copywriting that hurt their brand consistency.
Unguided external writers: A common problem among brands who work with freelancers. Many companies bring in external writers without briefing them about the brand messaging, purpose, values, and personality. So they end up with copy that doesn’t match your brand. Remember, the onus is on the brand to make sure external writers understand the brand’s essence. The people you bring in might be experts in their field, but no one knows your brand better than you.
Missed opportunities: Every brand touch point is an opportunity to tell a story or add personality. Many brands overlook transaction emails, 404 pages, and cookie banners, using dull boilerplate text that doesn’t align with their brand. Don’t let these opportunities go to waste. Here’s a great example from Peak Design. A day after I purchased their product, I got an email about their brand story.
Inadequate research: Good copywriting requires thorough research into your audience and competitors. Creating content that resonates with readers and stands out is impossible without research.
Too much on selling: Sure, your copy has to sell. But not always. Sometimes you have to altruistically give out information to educate your reader and build trust. If every piece of content is focused solely on selling, customers will soon get tired and switch off.
Missing context: Each situation calls for a different tone. Your brand voice might use humor and sarcasm, but using that same tone to tackle serious topics won’t work. It’s impossible to create content that resonates with your readers without understanding the context of an engagement.
Mixed voices from AI tools: This is a new problem that’s only going to get worse as more folks start using AI copywriting software. I mean, it’s great that these tools can produce content on a massive scale, but the results are often pretty hit or miss in terms of having a unique personality. Like, some people just throw in random adverbs and famous names and end up sounding like a cross between a caffeinated parrot and a late-night infomercial.
The connection between branding and copywriting
Branding and copywriting are closely intertwined as they both play significant roles in influencing the perception of your company in your customer’s minds. Branding is a broad brush stroke that includes both tangible and intangible aspects, such as logo design, color palette, brand voice, brand personality, typography, and more. Copywriting is an aspect of branding that involves crafting persuasive words to educate, engage and influence customers. It’s crucial to ensure that a brand’s overall look, feel, and message is unified to be effective. This means that copywriters need to understand the big-picture branding elements when writing content so they can capture the brand essence in their copy.
(aka The Mindful Marketer, aka the guy who rocks a pink shirt 😄)
I’m a content consultant who helps small businesses become iconic brands by clarifying their brand message and creating strategic content. I’ve worked with brands like EY, Natwest, and some early-stage startups like Vivartah.
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