How copywriting and design can work hand in hand with your brand

Mar 24, 2021

Gemma Lumicisi from contently Driven on a teal background

I’m incredibly excited for you to read today’s blog. Because I’m chatting with Gemma from Contently Driven

She’s a copywriter and coach who writes copy that sounds like you or teaches you how. She’s all about unleashing your brand voice, so your words are unique to you. 

You may be thinking, why are you speaking with a copywriter?

It’s because when you work with a graphic designer, it’s all about creating a visual image. 

How your brand looks, right?

Believe it or not, when working with a copywriter, you’re doing the same thing. 

Because how your brand sounds is just as important. So you create a brand that’s unique to you, and it unleashes your personality. 

But I discovered many business owners don’t know this. 

This is why I decided to interview a fab copywriter. So you can understand how the copy and design work together to create your brand’s personality. 

Gemma shares plenty of tips and tricks on all things branding for your business.

In this blog, you’ll learn,

  • How design and copywriting are similar 
  • How words and images work together 
  • What effective branding does for your business 
  • What the heck a brand voice is and why it matters 
  • How you uncover your brand voice 
  • What’s it like to work with a copywriter
Vintage Typewriter illustration

Welcome, Gemma! So, what actually is a brand voice?

Well, it’s the personality and emotion you infuse into all your business communications. 

It includes, 

  • The words you use
  • The language you use 
  • Your personality 
  • Your presence 

A brand voice is an essential tool for making sure your message breaks through the clutter of the internet. So your brand releases itself from the field of same-same competitors.

And that’s why a brand voice matters. As a business with a clear purpose and strong personality, stick out from the crowd. Much the same as what visual branding does for your business. 

Why is your brand voice important when it comes to branding?

Yeah, of course. Great question, Kat.

Like a designer, you hire them to create a unique brand for you, right? 

So then, when it comes to copywriting, you hire a copywriter to form words that sound like you and your business. 

Now many people get scared of this, but it’s actually what copywriting is all about. 

And here’s the thing. If someone can identify you through your colours, they should also remember you through your words. 

Suppose you think about plagiarism, as icky as that is to think about. If someone were to copy and paste your words onto your website, it wouldn’t work. Because you’ve got sprinkles of your brand voice and personality throughout that piece of content.

So that’s the first reason to create a brand voice. 

The second is so your copy sounds like you, is unique to you and has bits of your personality in there. Such as the things you say and dribs and drabs of something you love placed here and there. 

I also know writing copy that sounds like you is scary for people. Being authentic with your words in the land of the interwebs isn’t easy. 

In fact, I wrote a blog all about it. You should pop over to my website and check it out. 

Yes, totally. 
So then, what are some of the steps you take to uncover someone’s brand voice?

Yes, I love this question. Well, there are a few steps I take when working with someone to create their brand voice. 

Firstly, I get them to list around 5 things they love. 

So I start by asking them what they do when they’re not sleeping, eating or working. 

And further to that, it can be anything from cooking, their kids to an animal they love. 

And I do this because everyone will have 5 things they love or love to do. And this makes them instantly different from the next person and business.

Then, I get them to tell me their top 5 brand values and list them for me. 

From here, I work with them to brainstorm analogies around these 5 things they love to reflect their values. 

Here’s an example from my business. I love leopard print a lot. You’ll generally see me wearing it, holding it or something of it near me. 

So then I thought about how I could incorporate it into my brand. Now, if you have a look, I’ve got it visually throughout my branding as well. So I knew I had to incorporate it somehow into my words.

One of my brand values is unique. So I began to mix animals with this. So throughout my copy, you’ll read phrases such as being distinct like a leopards’ spots and don’t blend in like a zebra. 

Sentences like this make my words unique to me and my brand.

Such small things like this are how you’ll start to see your brand personality shining through in your words. 

Awesome. And then, how do you incorporate this personality into your writing?

Well, it’s simple. Like all branding, your copy should be consistent across all touchpoints. So, where you want to make a point or add a little sprinkle of you, pop in the phrase.

I also like to get my clients to ask their friends and family for words and phrases they say a lot. 

And once they have a list, sprinkle these through your website copy, blogs and social media posts. 

Because you’re letting your personality shine through everywhere in your words. 

And your target audience will start to notice these and know them as being the things you say and love as well. 

Now you’ve told us all about a brand voice. I want to look at how copywriting and design go hand in hand. 

Both have an impact on how your target audience will feel about your brand. 

So how do you think they are similar?

It’s funny, Kat, because I remember doing the Brand Voice process with you. And we discovered we both ask similar questions when uncovering someone’s branding, right?

Yes, I remember.

And that got me thinking so much about how they’re both similar. I’m responsible for the words. The words that go everywhere. And you look after the visuals, but without the two together, you don’t have anything. 

No website, social media posts or ads. If you’re running ads. 

Where they’re also similar is design and copywriting start with a creative brief. A document where we both uncover someone’s brand. So we can bring it to life through visuals and corresponding words. 

 

Why, then, is it important to have words and imagery work together?

Great question. Well, because the two elements of design and copy should complement each other. And work together. 

And you can notice the brands, ads and content where this hasn’t happened. Things aren’t quite placed right, and words perhaps overlap or get squished together. 

 All in all, words impact design.

And it’s usually impossible for a designer to do anything without the words coming first. If you’ve worked in agency land like me, then the copy always came before the designer could create. 

I mean, think about a website page, for example. 

The words are super important because they’re what people are reading. But so is what the website looks like. And a designer needs to know what words are on the page and how much room they will take up before creating their visual brilliance, right?

 

Absolutely. 

Tell me, for someone who’s never worked with a copywriter before, what’s the process?

Of course. First, a copywriter needs a brand voice chart, which I spoke about earlier. So your copywriter understands your brand and can write to sound like you.

Once you have a brand voice, the next step is a meeting. Where together, you’ll discuss the brief and from there, fill in a creative brief.

This includes all questions around your target audience. Because as a copywriter, we need to understand your audience. 

So we can deeply know their pain points, fears, desires and beliefs. So we can speak to them and help solve their problems.

Once all this gets completed, off I go and start the project. 

I begin with what I call a brain dump. Which is a short version with headings, dots, points and other bits and pieces.

I send this to the client to make sure I’m on the right track before completing an entire first draft.

Then there is the first draft and revisions, and the second draft and final edits.

But I want to point out how copywriting is a collaborative process. 

Meaning, the more information I get from the client, the more in-depth I can write. And the more feedback I get in revisions then, the more I’m able to return their copy on point. 

And here’s the thing. I don’t get offended, upset or anything from feedback. 

Because it’s got nothing to do with my writing, I mean, sometimes it’s tricky to get inside a client’s head. But the more feedback I get then, the better the process for my client. 

 

And to finish with my favourite question, what does effective branding do for your business?

Can I say everything? Haha. Nah, but to keep it short, effective branding gives you a competitive advantage. It helps you stand out when others blend in.

It also helps you to connect with your customers emotions, needs and wants. And it paints a picture of who you are, what you’re about and displays your personality as a person and business.

And when done well, it makes you unique over your competitors who do the same thing.

 

Thanks so much for your time and tips, Gemma.

You’re so welcome, Kat.

 

In summary, 

How fab was that? I’m sure now you’ve got an understanding of

  • Copywriting and the process
  • How it works together with design
  • And why you need to create a brand voice

This means when all the aspects of your brand are working together, you’ll have a powerful tool to help your business stand out from the crowd of same-same. 

 

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Would you like more information about branding? Get in touch here.

Or

As your brand is more than how you present your business visually, want to know if yours is on the right track?

I’ve got a free branding checklist for you.

So you can make sure you’ve got everything you’d like your customers to experience with your business.

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