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Speaking the language

Aug 22, 2019
Your potential customer has picked up the phone, or found themselves on your landing page – so you already know they’re looking for the thing you sell. But in order to sell it effectively, you need to tap into the right tone – a style and approach that appeals to their motive for buying. Every sector has its own template – the compassionate veterinarian, or the serious legal practice – but the language of advertising is full of nuances. Put simply, it’s not about what you say, it’s how you say it.
PHMG innocent smoothie image
Fine tuning: the health food industry
This is an art that businesses in the Health Foods industry have begun to fine tune, and they’ve done it by establishing clear values that people can identify with. Take Innocent Smoothies – their values are natural, healthy, sustainable and ethically responsible. And they really do live by the ‘tastes good, does good’ philosophy they advocate – they sustainably source, donate 10% of profits to charity, and keep this message clearly accessible with an approachable, playful brand personality.
2CJ Gaffney blog image phmg
On the whole, this means taking a more conversational, casual approach that inspires consumers to try something new – rather than explicitly stating the health features of certain products or ingredients. Gaffney also recommends, especially for food marketers, that it’s important to consider that different language appeals to different genders. He advised that women are four times more likely than men to buy into the word “less,” as in less salt or less sugar, while men tend to be motivated by adding “more” with regards to ingredients like healthy fats and protein.

Understanding your audience:
By this advice, we can see that what works for one company in a given sector, might not work for its counterpart. This is nowhere more perfectly shown than the contrast of popular tea brands Yorkshire Tea, and Pukka Teas. The slogan for Yorkshire Tea is simply, ‘Where everything is done proper’. Their website lays out their ‘brews’ next to instructions on how to make a traditional cuppa, the right way. In comparison, Pukka refer to their flavours as ‘delicious tea families’ and have a whole menu on their website committed to the wellbeing of their customers.

Does this mean the customers of both of these companies are completely different? In some cases, yes. On paper, the no-nonsense attitude of the former might pin-point an older, or more traditional audience, than Pukka’s comparatively millennial target market. But inevitably, there will be a lot of people that buy both, the difference is they go to different brands for different things. Yorkshire Tea for something comforting, familiar, perhaps a mainstay in their morning. Pukka for something that makes them feel good, a little pampered and maybe even healthy.

If there’s such a diverse selection of ways to talk to customers in a sector, how do brands choose the one right for them? By delving into what makes them feel proud, listing their core values and finding common ground with their audience, a business can uncover their personality – and begin to think about how they want it to be expressed.

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Tone talks:
This is something we know well at PHMG, because uncovering our clients’ brand voice is precisely what we do. The only medium in audio branding is sound, so we’ve mastered the art of crystallizing corporate values into spoken communication that leaves an impact. We have a team of Copywriters committed to this one purpose, who look at a brand’s values, product and service and distil this into a tone that can be effortlessly consumed in sound. It’s tempting to think that perfectly worded writing and summarised ideas just appear on the paper, but making something complicated look simple is the art of good copywriting. It’s achieved by drawing on universally human emotions, like happiness, nostalgia and desire, to create a connection between brand and audience.

A good AI for copy:
Strangely, publications including AdAge have recently reported an uptake in investments for AI copywriting. In fact, Chase bank has just signed a five-year deal with Persado, a New York-based company that applies artificial intelligence to marketing creative – with clients like Dell, Williams Sonoma and Expedia set to follow. Alex Vratskides, CEO and co-founder of Persado argues that AI copywriting provides ‘a mathematical answer’ – but we’d say advertising is about emotion, not maths.

What does a computer know about the smell of a new car, or the taste of fruit squeezed fresh into a little bottle you can pick up on your way to work? AI doesn’t know how it feels to grow up wanting to ride a Porsche, or remember dunking a digestive in a Yorkshire Tea after school. It’s these little human connections that good copywriting creates between a brand and an audience. After all, it’s the people behind a brand that bring it to life.