VERBAL BRANDING: What do your words say about you?
The first post in the Shiba500 verbal branding series, a hands-on guide to finding your company's verbal identity.

by Kathryn Reynolds

"Words are the model, words are the tools, words are the boards, words are the nails."Richard Rhodes

Verbal branding is how you tell your story through the words you use based on your brand values. This may be your personal brand or your company's brand, but when we talk about business branding, it refers to your company's style and grammar guide, your voice and tone guide, and also to the words and phrases you choose to use to emphasize your brand values.

According to Crowdspring, "78% of consumers trust brands that produce custom content, compared to generic content." What is custom content? It's the content you create to represent your brand and to differentiate it from your competitors. It's your unique verbal style within your brand identity — it's your verbal identity.

Unique, engaging, and considered content that speaks from your brand directly to your audience is a requirement for your business. And with more companies needing to move online, the market is getting more crowded. Your company needs to make your online voice (read: verbal identity) count where it matters.

Where do you use verbal branding (even if you don't call it that)?

You use it in your:

  • name,
  • tagline,
  • message,
  • content strategy,
  • website text,
  • app wording,
  • product descriptions,
  • pitch deck proposals,
  • blog articles,
  • social media phrasing, PR communication,
  • event banners and stationary...
...and anything else you can think of that needs to be written about.

Verbal branding is the word-structure that makes up your company's identity.

How much does your verbal identity matter in the grand scheme of things?

It matters a lot. Every word that you choose to tell your story to your audience is driving home your story to your customer and telling them why your product is a better buy than the next. Words drive meaning. They differentiate your service.

Words have the power to set you apart from competitors if you use them right.

But I already have a logo and some design templates, isn't that enough?

The short answer is — well, no. It's important, but it's not enough.

Good brands have a visual and verbal identity. Great brands make sure their visual and verbal branding is consistently cohesive, well-aligned, and adapted in tandem.

Because if you don't align your visual and your verbal identity, your customer could be seeing one thing while hearing another. This dilutes a brand and significantly lowers the customer's level of trust. And then they go elsewhere.

Here are four of the most important aspects of brand identity to consider:

  • VERBAL BRANDING: relating to or in the form of words

  • VISUAL BRANDING: relating to seeing or sight

  • AUDIO BRANDING: sound, especially recorded, transmitted, or reproduced

  • KINESTHETIC BRANDING: relating through physical activity - aka UX
Not everyone uses or needs audio branding, for example, as they don't have a podcast or YouTube channel or customer care line. But some folks do. And as you can see they are all parts that sum up to a strong and unique brand perception.

Why your verbal identity is so important, even more than you may realize

"46% of a brand's image comes from what they say, and how they say it." — BOPDESIGN

In other words, your verbal identity is worth almost 50% of your brand image. Do your brand strategy and investment reflect that fact? Not only that, but over 60% of millennial consumers expect a consistent brand across all channels, and that's not just a visual thing, it's verbal, it's audible, it's kinesthetic, it's the whole package.

At Shiba500, our team explores our own verbal branding and identity on a continuous basis, as much as we do with our clients. We do this for three reasons:

  1. We are a young company defining our verbal and visual branding,

  2. We understand the dynamic and changing process of brand identity, and

  3. We thoroughly enjoy it because we are nerds-for-words and their meaning!
This is the first post in the Shiba500 verbal branding series. We can't wait to share with you the next steps to finding your verbal identity through our hands-on guides!

Next post? How verbal branding starts with the all-important discovery phase...

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