Managing your organization's collective voice

Freivalds, John
September 2005
Communication World;Sep/Oct2005, Vol. 22 Issue 5, p24
Trade Publication
This article examines the importance of verbal identity in building global brand. Verbal identity is the accumulated collection of words and phrases that defines the business culture of a global organization. Marketing slogans, advertisements and trademarks are part of a company's verbal identity. Not surprisingly, the importance of verbal identity is gaining recognition. Today, any company with a Web site is already a global business, so what one writes has to be readily understood. In the verbal identity sphere, there is usually little consistency in how terms are used. To put it another way, where verbal identity is concerned, variations are permitted. This seems ironic, given that many firms depend extensively on international sales. According to Bill Seawick, chief marketing officer of TRADOS, visual identity can set an emotional tone for a company, but verbal identity is more important for every business, every multinational business, because verbal identity persuades a customer to take action. Companies like Microsoft Corp. fully understand this. Its international sales represent 60 percent of total sales. It maintains a web site called Dr. International to coach developers, web designers and corporate communicators on how to write for the international marketplace.


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