Thirty years ago if Kelloggs wanted to sell you more Cornflakes they simply increased the advertising budget. That got them more airtime, people saw them more during the ad breaks and that triggered a positive response when they were standing in the cereal aisle of their local Tesco … easy.

As a reaction to this, brands like Weetabix would go out and do exactly the same thing just to get back ahead with their product but of course all this did was prompt Kelloggs to do more of the same thing in return. This was affectionately known as a ‘pissing contest’, but we prefer to look at it more like a ‘shouting match’ and back then the shouting just got louder and louder until eventually the customer gave up and just had a fry up instead.

Then of course something seminal happened in brand marketing in the late 90’s. Metaphorically the clouds parted and the sun came shiny down as Innocent Smoothies arrived on the scene with their fruit based, thick shake of a drink. A new brand was born and a new dawn had broken. Nothing was going to be the same again.

Their approach to consumers was completely different, they didn’t want to shout at us using advertising, to be honest they probably couldn’t afford to at that very early stage. Instead they wanted to be our friend and it was an incredibly clever and innovative move but of course these days, it’s the norm.

The problem is, brands by their very nature are inanimate objectives that you can’t forge a relationship with. It’s a bit like falling in love with a chair, it ain’t gonna happen (well it shouldn’t do anyway).

To create these relationships, brands need to be personified in some way and do that they needed personality. Innocent Smoothies arrived with a shed load of personality that was largely achieved by the clever text that appeared on the side of the packaging. The secret notes and hidden messages found by customers not only created fun little relationships but it made consumers part of the ‘Innocent family’. That sort of engagement was absolutely invaluable and they went on to secure unprecedented levels of brand loyalty that they’ve enjoyed for years since.

It created a new breed of ‘Wakaging’ where brands started to ‘talk’ to us. Terry’s Chocolate Oranges told us that ‘my delicious segments are made of real orange oil’. Bananas asked customers to either ‘eat me or keep me’ and bags of salad suddenly started to politely explain that they ‘preferred living in the fridge’ … to be honest, It got a little bit out of hand but the basis of delivering brand personality through copywriting had been born and was here to stay.

These days, this sort of relationship building that brands look to achieve is seen at every turn with social media accounts. Brands don’t need advertising when they can ‘chat’ directly to their market via Instagram as if they’re friends with other … these customers are still being targeted, just in slightly more subtle and friendlier way.

The point is brand personality is so massively important these days. What you say about your brand or business on your website, in e-newsletters or on the side of your packaging can have a significant impact on whether potential customers ultimately become real customers.

So next time it comes to copywriting don’t just think about a few words that fill the space nicely. Think about creating personality for your brand, think about telling a story and think about communicating those all-important brand messages. 

Of course, you could just think about talking to us at Contented.