I find it strange when I hear creative people being asked whether the definition of creativity has changed in the era of social media. I wonder what does that question really mean. Creativity has always been about ideas. The thing that has changed is the vehicle. Power of an idea has always been about the length it travels and social media just offers a new vehicle for ideas to travel.
However there seems to be one change ever since social media started gaining prominence in marketing plans. The perpetual imbalance between verbal and visual identity is perhaps getting corrected. I say ‘perhaps’ because the difference is still rather glaring and only a few brands, mostly international, are making an effort to get their verbal identity in shape.
I must be off my rockers talking about growing importance of verbal identity in this Great Visual Era. I can almost visualize you asking "Isn’t it all about beautiful photography and impressively edited videos? Who reads or listens to marketing messages, especially on social media?"
Trust me, people do. People ‘hear’ us when we post a status update on social media, when we respond to a fan’s post, when we tweet about a promotional scheme. People do not want to hear marketing jargons here. They don’t even want to hear clichés here. They want to ‘hear’ a warm happy human voice having a conversation with them. Why only in social media, they want to hear human voice at every touch point. Step out of your expensive Church shoes and step into the consumer’s chappals and now tell me, don’t you want to hear a reassuring avuncular voice when you are choosing which life insurance policy to buy?
Brands spend millions to get the right ‘look’. But with growing importance of social media, it is becoming imperative to spend some valuable time developing a brand language or a distinct verbal identity. A consistent language spoken in a distinct tone of voice, devoid of any marketing gobbledygook will not only help to humanize and sharpen our brand’s personality, it will also resonate better with the social media savvy consumers who we want to build a relationship with.
I don’t have any doubt that the trend of verbal identity is going to catch on in a big way. Major international brand strategy firms such as Interbrand and Landor are already offering verbal identity strategy as a separate service. If you are looking at leaving that boring copy writer's job, perhaps this is what you should look at doing next.