Good design needs the right tone

When people think about Corporate Identity, they often equate it with Corporate Design, but that’s just part of the picture (or better said, half the story). Equally important, perhaps even more so, is Corporate Language. Establishing a strategic tonality for your communications will help you tell your brand story consistently – so that even without design, your Corporate Identity remains unmistakable.

By David P. Steel, Managing Director at steelecht

Setting the tone

Of course, a sports equipment company should choose a different tonality than an engineering firm. But how do you flesh out the details that differentiate the personality of one engineering firm from another?

One useful method is to brainstorm some opposing characteristics, such as: friendly vs. reserved; entertaining vs. informative; emotional vs. rational, etc. Put each of these words on either side of a 1-10 scale, and mark your target tone along each continuum. The resulting analysis will be a helpful document that you can pass on to everyone responsible for communicating your brand message, even external agencies.

Putting it to work

There are many different ways of turning your language and tonality decisions into specific content. One example – and possibly the most important marketing trend in decades – is content marketing. Content marketing is the publication of materials that are truly informative and thereby valuable to readers in and of themselves (as opposed to advertising which primarily aims to sell).

If you are working on an international scale, transcreation (as opposed to mere translation) is also key. In order to ensure all the nuances of your Corporate Language do not get lost, you should work with translators who are also experienced copywriters. For transcreation, you not only hand over a text, you also provide your partner a briefing on tone, goals and target audience – as well as a license to “be creative”. It may be a little more expensive, but you end up with a text that works. After all, it is your identity at stake.

There are many ways that tonality can make or break a brand – but the simple act of acknowledging its importance is your first step on the road to better communication.

About steelecht

steelecht helps companies plan and implement their Corporate Language. The company has been copywriting and transcreating communications for over 15 years. Their passion for communication and multilingualism has further led them into language learning technology that focuses on personalized, in-context acquisition.

Curious to know more? Tell us about your project an get a free quote.

You can also read this article in German: “Zum guten Design gehört ein guter Ton”.

Corporate Language
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