By Meg E. Haley, Copywriter Whether starting a business or seeking to redefine what it stands for, creating brand documents is a project not to be overlooked. Unfortunately, many people in decision-making positions are under the impression that “branding” simply means picking a logo. But, if they think about how they choose their mayo, or why they go to the red big-box store over the blue one, they will find they have very specific, content-based, and almost philosophical reasons. Maybe it’s because it’s the mayo their mom always bought (brand loyalty) or maybe it’s because there was a snazzy new ad out that told the story of how natural the ingredients were (brand affinity). The same goes for all sorts of decisions we make on a daily basis. Sure, choosing an attorney or financial advisor isn’t the same as buying a condiment, but the influence of good (or bad!) branding certainly still applies. Visual aspects of a brand are important to consider as well — that signature blue and yellow packaging makes it that much easier for you to find your go-to mayo. But don’t forget the power of a good story. According to Landor, the world’s foremost branding agency,
approximately 45 percent of a brand’s image can be attributed to what it says and how it says it. Calculate the verbal touchpoints in your brand’s universe — from how your receptionist greets callers, to what your CEO sounds like at your annual shareholder’s meeting, to the tone of your print and online communications…and it quickly becomes clear how it adds up to this significant percentage.
Now, wouldn’t it be foolish to overlook an aspect of your business that can have such a huge impact on the image you’re putting out to potential clients? My proposal is simple: when defining your brand, remember the voice. Don’t underestimate having a clear, well-defined brand personality to check all communications against. Don’t be afraid to tell stories. Stories are a fundamental tool human beings use to communicate, learn and remember. Ensure you have a good writer on your team who can help define your brand voice strategy. Execute across all touchpoints so your audience has an instant and consistent understanding of what you stand for, based not only on what you say, but how you say it. This writer will help make small decisions (Do we use all caps?), and big ones (How much weight do we give different aspects of our business on our website?). They will ask questions like, “What are our potential clients’ worries, needs and desires?” If they’re truly a good writer, they will address each of these questions to differentiate you from your competition. And after all, true differentiation is priceless. 
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Meg E. Haley has been an inspired storyteller since long before she could write! She has acquired different techniques over time: from writing plays in college, to food and hospitality editorials while working towards her Master’s, and cutting her professional teeth on brand-elevating ad campaigns for Dell, Inc. Now as a (mostly) full time copywriter, Meg enjoys developing a brand’s unique voice. She believes clever word play is nothing without substance, but are two halves of a great whole.