Designing
Brand Language
Elizabeth Marika Henry
liz@henrygeneral.com @whereareyouliz
www.nuancewords.org Zurich, usually.
Natural language is so cool.
idiolect
Our own ways of speaking and being and navigating the
world.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiolect
codeswitching
In linguistics, code-switching is switching between two or
more languages, or language varieties, in the con...
languaging
To communicate by language; to express in language
"Designing" with language
Languaging, Agency and Collaborati...
writing
Making language visual, packaging it, saving it, storing it.
writing system
a set of visible or tactile signs used...
Publishing
the process of production and dissemination of literature,
music, or information — the activity of making infor...
Language is abstract.
It locks ideas in space and time.
History of Communication / Visual communication
http://www.citrini...
We use language all day every day.
But before long, it begins to accumulate..
Ideas mix.
Words get fuzzy.
Sentences are repeated.
The meaning starts to change.
...Confusion ensues.
So:
Be conscious of your use of words.
Be aware of how you use both casual and formal language
Because..
The words you use to describe a business are
your business idiolect.
Your business words are your brand.
They re...
One way to do this -
Choose your words carefully.
Whittle content down to a bare minimum.
Only publish the best of what you've got.
Think like a writer.
Choose each word.
Craft and design each line.
Think like an editor.
Get to the point.
Cut out all the rest.
Think like a publisher.
Your reputation relies on everything you make
public. Choose wisely.
So as a writer, editor, & publisher, I need to think
about:
Brand Language
Communication
Content Production
Think of words as
design tools for communication
Interrogate the text:
What is this text supposed to do?
What is it trying...
Many design agencies or marketing
departments think about brand voice or
linguistic branding.
Many still don't.
How do you...
Your words echo your business strategy.
You wouldn't outsource your business strategy.
Don't outsource your language.
Avoi...
Just to be clear:
I don't want this job at your company.
It's really hard.
Linguistic Branding? How to get started.
1. Articulate your brand language
Determine your brand voice, style guide, identi...
Who can and should do this job?
Find someone who is internal, has exceptionally good
communication skills, understands how...
Take notes from the workflows of content production and
publishing industries.
Do regular audits.
Have an editor on staff ...
Especially because...
The new, fast, instantly
International, Multinational, Global
Company or Website
requires
Translation
Internationalization...
Words are abstractions.
Consider advertising, poetry, and humor
Words can be tricky, easily misconstrued, or taken out of
...
Words are cultural as well as linguistic.
Language captures culture. Use it to design
communication to a particular audien...
The appropriate phrase
The right words
A good fit
It's about finding the right word for the right situation.
About choosin...
A note on "language people"
These are: translators, writers, editors, interpreters, content
people, technical communicator...
Finally back to those terms...
idiolect
languaging
codeswitching
writing
publishing
Identify people in your circles who think about language.
Language and technology, language and story, language
and commun...
Elizabeth Marika Henry
liz@henrygeneral.com @whereareyouliz
www.nuancewords.org Zurich, usually.
Designing Brand Language
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Designing Brand Language

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I gave this talk for @ContentGourmets in Zurich on June 29, 2013.

You can find the accompanying Storify here:
http://storify.com/christophhess/content-gourmets-meetup-1

Topics:
Idiolect, Code switching, Languaging, Writing, Publishing.
Thinking like a writer, editor, publisher.
Language is cultural as well as linguistic.
Nurture smart language use.

Most images are by Saul Steinberg.

Published in: Business, Technology

Transcript of "Designing Brand Language "

  1. 1. Designing Brand Language Elizabeth Marika Henry liz@henrygeneral.com @whereareyouliz www.nuancewords.org Zurich, usually.
  2. 2. Natural language is so cool.
  3. 3. idiolect Our own ways of speaking and being and navigating the world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiolect
  4. 4. codeswitching In linguistics, code-switching is switching between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Codeswitching in Sociocultural Linguistics Nilep, 2006. http://www.colorado. edu/ling/CRIL/Volume19_Issue1/paper_NILEP.pdf http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/
  5. 5. languaging To communicate by language; to express in language "Designing" with language Languaging, Agency and Collaboration, Swain, 2012. http://lrc.cornell.edu/events/past/2011-2012/papers11/swain.pdf
  6. 6. writing Making language visual, packaging it, saving it, storing it. writing system a set of visible or tactile signs used to represent units of language in a systematic way, with the purpose of recording messages which can be retrieved by everyone who knows the language in question and the rules by virtue of which its units are encoded in the writing system. - From the The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writings Systems http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing
  7. 7. Publishing the process of production and dissemination of literature, music, or information — the activity of making information available to the general public. In an age of constant communication and instant sharing, we are all publishers. We should be clear with our choice of words, messaging, and communication. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publishing
  8. 8. Language is abstract. It locks ideas in space and time. History of Communication / Visual communication http://www.citrinitas.com/history_of_viscom/ http://www.atlassian.com/en/communication-through-the-ages-infographic History of Publishing / Sharing http://www.biztechmagazine.com/sites/default/files/tiny-uploads/2012/infographics/sharing- communication-infographic.jpg http://socialmediachimps.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/history-publishing-printing-press- infographic-.jpg
  9. 9. We use language all day every day.
  10. 10. But before long, it begins to accumulate..
  11. 11. Ideas mix. Words get fuzzy. Sentences are repeated. The meaning starts to change. ...Confusion ensues.
  12. 12. So: Be conscious of your use of words. Be aware of how you use both casual and formal language
  13. 13. Because.. The words you use to describe a business are your business idiolect. Your business words are your brand. They relate back to your reputation.
  14. 14. One way to do this -
  15. 15. Choose your words carefully. Whittle content down to a bare minimum. Only publish the best of what you've got.
  16. 16. Think like a writer. Choose each word. Craft and design each line.
  17. 17. Think like an editor. Get to the point. Cut out all the rest.
  18. 18. Think like a publisher. Your reputation relies on everything you make public. Choose wisely.
  19. 19. So as a writer, editor, & publisher, I need to think about: Brand Language Communication Content Production
  20. 20. Think of words as design tools for communication Interrogate the text: What is this text supposed to do? What is it trying to say here? How can it be more clear?
  21. 21. Many design agencies or marketing departments think about brand voice or linguistic branding. Many still don't. How do you articulate brand language? How do you manage, control, patrol it? Make sure there is one person in charge.
  22. 22. Your words echo your business strategy. You wouldn't outsource your business strategy. Don't outsource your language. Avoid expensive mistakes with good language from the beginning Reach your customers, readers, or users by "Speaking their language" Read: Don't be sloppy or lose control of your words. Know what your words are saying about you. Put one person in charge.
  23. 23. Just to be clear: I don't want this job at your company. It's really hard.
  24. 24. Linguistic Branding? How to get started. 1. Articulate your brand language Determine your brand voice, style guide, identity. > Customer or Client? "Nuance" or "we"? 2. Decide on messaging, communication strategy. What to say, to whom, using which media channels, when and why? > Do our customers use twitter? should we? 3. Plan content creation and produce original content. How can this be best conveyed, communicated? How do we create the impact we want? > What function does this text serve?
  25. 25. Who can and should do this job? Find someone who is internal, has exceptionally good communication skills, understands how things work, and can be authentic and honest about how to best communicate ideas, problems, and sensitive topics. For example: Content Marketer Brand Journalist Technical Communicator Content Strategist Project Manager
  26. 26. Take notes from the workflows of content production and publishing industries. Do regular audits. Have an editor on staff who knows how to edit content, not just offer opinions and add commas. Jeffrey Veen's Doing a Content Inventory (Adaptive Path) Kristina Halvorson's The Discipline of Content Strategy (A List Apart) Philip Kotler's The Marketing Audit Comes of Age (MIT-Sloan Management Review, $6.50)
  27. 27. Especially because...
  28. 28. The new, fast, instantly International, Multinational, Global Company or Website requires Translation Internationalization Localization To speak the customer's language, to connect. Things have changed.
  29. 29. Words are abstractions. Consider advertising, poetry, and humor Words can be tricky, easily misconstrued, or taken out of context
  30. 30. Words are cultural as well as linguistic. Language captures culture. Use it to design communication to a particular audience.
  31. 31. The appropriate phrase The right words A good fit It's about finding the right word for the right situation. About choosing the right abstraction, combination of abstractions to match a cultural situation.
  32. 32. A note on "language people" These are: translators, writers, editors, interpreters, content people, technical communicators, marketers... anyone who communicates They enable cross-cultural communication by articulating, rendering one word into another language. From programmer to marketer From parent to child From Arabic to English We all belong to different cultures, we all speak different languages.
  33. 33. Finally back to those terms...
  34. 34. idiolect languaging codeswitching writing publishing
  35. 35. Identify people in your circles who think about language. Language and technology, language and story, language and communication. Give them jobs, hold them to high standards, and pay them well. Encourage everyone around you to be more aware of their language. It's an incredible tool. A design tool, a tool for humans by humans. Hone your language, communication, writing, your brand.
  36. 36. Elizabeth Marika Henry liz@henrygeneral.com @whereareyouliz www.nuancewords.org Zurich, usually.

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