If you would just shut up and listen, maybe your customers would do your copywriting for you.
When we think about copywriting and brand voice, we think about what we want to say. We spend hours crafting the perfect message, considering our product features, our brand ethos, our creative passions. But how often do we think about our audience and what they're saying?
Because, if we did, maybe we wouldn't have to do much writing at all. Sometimes the most effective brand messages and brand voice strategies are the ones we hear from our customers and reflect back to them. We don't even have to pretend it was our idea.
Case in point, the incredible Le Labo Instagram account @overheardlelabo. If you haven't seen it, definitely check it out. It's a real-time quote-slide feed of exactly how the brand's fragrances make its customers feel, as overheard in the shops. It's powerful precisely because the brand isn't in the conversation. It's the eavesdropper, the quiet observer, listening in on private dialogue between consumer and product. Le Labo becomes a setting, a platform for people to tell the stories of their lives. The results are devastatingly personal and highly relatable.
Sometimes you just have to shut up and listen. Everyone loves Glossier's on-point millennial voice, but the exploding beauty brand's popular communication style is the result of years of monitoring its market via the beauty blog Into the Gloss. Community building is a long, laborious process, but once it gains traction, it's a gold mine of market insight. Give people the proper channels and tools to communicate with your brand, and you'll be amazed what you learn about how your products fit into the lives of those who love them.
Look at your Instagram comments. How do your followers speak? Do they use a lot of AFs and FTWs? Or are they talking about how "obsessed" they are with your "fabulous" products? The way your customers speak is full of cues about how they would like to be spoken to. If you want to be relatable, mirror their speech patterns. If your brand is more aspirational, enter the conversation a few levels cooler and fancier.
Or maybe just let the customers speak for you. Active wear brand ADAY's Throw & Roll Leggings are among the most flattering on the market (trust us, we are connoisseurs). But every brand says that, so a recent promoted Instagram post features a photo highlighting how well the product enhances the curvature of the ass, with a caption quoting feedback from a customer service email. "I wore your pants on a date," it reads. "We went on an urban hike, took a ferry to Sausalito, then on a whim we flew to LA for the night." Obviously, a customer finding love in your pants is worth more than anything you could say about construction, material and fit. Even if ADAY didn't quote the customer directly, they could take a cue from the comment and write an inspired copy line and content piece with an irresistible call to action, like:
These pants could change your life. FIND OUT HOW
Then, you do a styling story about how to wear the leggings on a spontaneous urban discovery mission that turns into an overnight date. You start with a tank top and dope sneakers, then maybe throw on heels and hot jacket for dinner. By the time you're checking into the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA, you're in boots and the cashmere wrap you brought for the plane. All this is to say that these goddamned pants will get you laid. And sex is never a hard sell.
The approach can be even edgier, if it befits your brand. You don't have to control your message all the time. Let your fans go off script if they want. The reason why the Le Labo stories are so intriguing is that they often veer into evil intentions about revenge and renewal. "I've had this bottle since 2014," says a recent @overheardlelabo quote. "I need a new label. It says 'sweetheart' and that's not really me anymore. I want it to say 'manslayer.' I've changed."
Hey, we're all for a little strategic rebranding.
Would you like to use your customers' stories to create a more effective brand voice?