Putting a price on words: the true value of verbal identity for business

BT has saved £6m by rewriting its call centre scripts, with the help of copy experts at agency The Writer.

I was delighted to read Marketing Week’s excellent feature headlining on the substantial tangible value that has been calculated by BT’s Head of Brand Language, Jon Hawkins, for well designed copy.make-money-online-1024x768

The Writer’s team must have had their work cut out, recreating 30,000 words of script, but how satisfying to see proof of the difference their efforts have made. The value measurement was made based on reduction in average call length – attributed to clearer communication conducted in a style that helps bring conversations to a mutually satisfactory conclusion more quickly.

Marketing Week’s Mindi Chahal explains that verbal brand identity means using language to “differentiate [the] brand and connect with consumers beyond predominantly graphical means such as advertising.” It’s really refreshing to see clarity of expression, choice of language and tone of voice recognised to be as important as visual presentation in customer communication.

An admittedly fairly small piece of research carried out by agency The Writer reveals that more than 80% of businesses questioned said that their tone of voice will remain as critical or become more important over the coming years.

That resonates with my recent experience of working with B2B clients who are keen to engage with audiences in an authentic verbal and written style. They see the value of using a clear verbal identity to reflect brand values and connect with customers’ ways of thinking and expressing themselves. I’ve created tone of voice guidelines based on core values and customer priorities, then used them to guide the rewriting of a wide range of print and online resources.

In marketing, short copy has long been carefully crafted to create a mood and expectation – in ad straplines and packaging, for example. It’s exciting to see the same level of attention now being paid to longer copy and interactive communication, from social media and web pages to phone scripts, customer letters and instruction manuals. Consistent tone of voice and clear principles for employees to use at every point of contact create sincere and straightforward communication for brands that customers enjoy engaging with.

Read the full Marketing Week feature here – there are some excellent examples of how other businesses (including Votary, Chester Zoo and XLN Telecom) are capitalising on their positive verbal identity.

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