Published: 31 October 2013

How brand language helps you spread the word

Tom Hynds . Creative Commons

When it comes to your charity’s brand, what you say is as important as how you look.

Charities are now reaching beyond the traditional link between brand and visuals to focus on achieving consistency and clarity in tone of voice. Brand language is becoming a communications discipline in its own right.

There are great examples of brand language being developed and deployed across the sector. However, it’s clear that many charities are finding it challenging to get to grips with this important aspect of their communications.

A seminar organised by CharityComms earlier this year, Communicating core values through language and tone of voice, sold out within a few days. And at the CharityComms Brand Development Conference, held last week, tone of voice was clearly top of the agenda for many delegates.

CharityComms and Self Communications have teamed up to help demystify tone of voice and support charities to find their own distinct way of talking about themselves and their work. We’ve gathered case studies, ideas and lessons from charities big and small, and compiled a Best Practice Guide: Pitch Perfect: linking voice and values.

The guide includes examples from Girlguiding, Mind, RNIB, the National Deaf Children’s Society and Macmillan, as well as smaller charities like Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability (Hafad) and the Association of Art Historians. It covers areas like:

  • Overcoming internal barriers
  • How to approach brand language
  • The importance of audience research
  • Building your brand language toolbox

We all use words all the time: to say who we are, state our case and ask for action. So it makes sense to choose the right ones, and make them work as hard as possible for us.

The guide is free to download. While you’re at it, tick the box on the download page to sign up for CharityComms’ fortnightly enews for regular updates on other key topics affecting charity communicators.

Sarah Fitzgerald, director, Self Communications

Sarah Fitzgerald is director of Self Communications, working with charities and not-for-profits to help their brands live through language. She has more than eight years’ senior communications experience in the third sector.