Of the myriad things I lend my expertise to, being part of a brand overhaul is one of my favourites. Being there when the brand is aware it’s outgrown its current guise means everyone involved is receptive and excited. It’s a great opportunity to look more closely at the core character of the business, and find new and engaging ways to convey its unique propositions. It’s a chance to re-invent the cause, breathe fresh air into the look and feel, and sharpen the messaging to convey key themes more effectively.
A stable personality
Often, it’s also a time to look at proposition, positioning, tag and straplines, values, tone of voice – either to refresh them, or in many cases to think about them properly for the first time. Defining these clearly keeps the rebrand process focused, and will also help anyone writing on the brand’s behalf to sound clear and consistent in conveying what’s arguably the most important aspect of a brand: its personality.
Think of a brand you like, and you can probably describe its character. Playful, outgoing, confident, enthusiastic, straightforward. All human characteristics – and rightly so. A successful brand will sound like an engaging, relatable person sharing something they’re excited about and want you to be a part of. That’s where the copywriter enters the fray – not just in conveying that character, but also helping to define it… so the earlier the better.
Of course, a rebrand is primarily the remit of a design agency. Or at least the very initial stages are. I’ve not yet heard of copywriters instigating or leading a strategic rebrand exercise, but there is certainly great value in having a writer involved at the outset, taking part in the initial briefing process, the early conceptual stages, and being privy to design discussions.
My point is this: the words are arguably as crucial to the success of a rebrand as the visual overhaul and any associated repositioning. Perhaps even more so. Those that understand this tend to enjoy the fruits of what can be a significant investment more than those that say, ‘we’ll just re-purpose what we’ve got’ or ‘we’ll get Mel to have a look at it – she writes our blogs’. I’m not being facetious or flippant… the insider will have an invaluable working understanding of the business and its target audience. A decent copywriter will seek such insights at the exploratory stages of a rebrand. It’s all part of ensuring the brand’s communications in support of its next phase of growth are in tune with its refreshed visual identity, and accurately and consistently reflect the character that people will identify and connect with.
So if you’re a business considering its next incarnation, or a branding agency in the initial stages of helping with that – don’t forget to involve the writer early on. Getting him or her on board at the outset will ensure the words complement the new look and feel, and make it even more compelling. Whenever that writer has been me, it’s been a really joined-up, smooth and enjoyable process. In turn it has helped ensure a happy client, and given the brand the boost they invested in.