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Communicate the value and impact of what you do, explain your work, sell your services
A blackboard, with the word BRAND written in big blue letters. Other words and icons surrounding it associated with branding eg identity, attributes, values etc, pictures of eg a lightbulb, a key, a chart

Thinking of rebranding? Why writing is as important as design

Rebranding always results in a refresh of the logo, colour scheme and design elements. But how often do you consider your written identity? It’s the Cinderella of branding – often overlooked, rarely taken to the party, but when its value is recognised, it can be transformational.


OK, I’m stretching the metaphor a little, but the words you and your colleagues choose to use, and the way you use them, are just as powerful as your ‘look’. They build trust and engagement; shape how people think and feel about you, and what they do; and help you to be consistent and therefore memorable. And this is just as important for the small organisations that I work with – in music, arts and the charity sector – as it is for large corporates.


In his superb book, We, me, them and it – the power of words in business, John Simmons writes:


“The organisation’s brand represents a promise. It says: this is what we are like, this is what we want to be, and (if you wish) you can connect with us too. It follows that when you are writing as part of your job you are writing on behalf of the brand – so you need to have a clear idea what that brand stands for.”


He talks of words as being “potentially precise instruments which shape concepts and chisel them into reality.” And that “words can move, explain, startle, excite, persuade, express ideas … and more.”


At a basic level, a good written identity is the ‘human voice’ of your brand, which turns formal language and jargon into writing that resonates with its audience and feels like a conversation.

At an advanced level, it can help you to influence public perception and engagement with your organisation, a cause or an issue.


Why nurture your written identity?  


If you need more convincing, here are five reasons why your organisation will benefit from nurturing its written identity:


  1. Firstly, at the start of the marketing process, it can help us to attract people’s attention. And hopefully, to persuade them to allow us to stay in touch with them.
  2. It can very powerfully shape people’s perception of us – so they gradually know, like and trust our organisation, and the people within it. This includes using storytelling, and developing a tone of voice and personality.
  3. It can keep them engaged – using language that feels relevant, perhaps inspiring, and that ‘speaks to them’. They’ll value our communications and stay open to hearing from us.
  4. Most importantly for not for profits, effective writing will help us advocate our cause – to help people understand WHY we do what we do, the impact it has, and what that means for them –  all of those things around purpose, vision, mission and values.
  5. Finally, the obvious one is that writing is critical to selling what we do. After encouraging people to think and feel in a particular way, it can then encourage them to act. They might contact us, buy a product or service, or agree to fund or commission projects or services.


How to develop your written identity


The obvious question is, but how do we do that? With visual identity, it’s simply a case of finding and working with an agency or graphic designer.


It isn’t that different for written identity. A copywriter can work with you and your team in a number of ways, depending on your budget and time. And if they already work in your sector, they’ll come with a wealth of experience that’ll make the process far easier.


They’ll need to start with some research/familiarisation to understand your purpose, vision, mission, values; your audience; and your communication goals. And then they might help to write:


  • short paragraphs to describe your purpose, vision, mission, values
  • a set of clear and concise ‘key messages’
  • a written style guide – containing tips about tone of voice, language, and written style
  • a review and refresh of core communications such as your website and key documents


At a more advanced level you may also want to have:

  • audience personas – imaginary profiles of your ‘ideal’ customers/stakeholders – including demographics, motivations, needs preferences
  • a brand story – a compelling narrative that illustrates the journey and the impact of your organisation
  • case studies and testimonials – telling the story of your impact on individuals
  • a press kit – including an organisational biography and template press release


These will serve as the foundation for your communications, and will make it much easier for you and your team to write consistently and persuasively.


If you’d like me to help you and your team with any of these, and to feel more confident in writing for your organisation, do contact me for a no-obligation chat or book a 30-min call on Calendly.

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