The Rise Of Verbal Identity In Branding & Marketing (w/ Chris West)

The Rise Of Verbal Identity In Branding & Marketing (w/ Chris West)

Chris West is a verbal identity specialist and bestselling author of a book called strong language, the fastest, smartest, and cheapest marketing tool you are not using.

Now verbal identity is a topic that’s grossly overlooked and it’s an area of branding and brand strategy that really gets me going as a tool of brand influence.

In our chat, Chris shares his wisdom about

What verbal identity is

Why it’s importance and influence is growing and

How to develop an effective verbal identity for your brand or your client’s brand

So if you wanna learn how to enhance the brands that you build to better serve and influence your target audience from a professional, verbal identity specialist, then don’t miss this article

The Rise Of Verbal Identity In Branding & Marketing (w/ Chris West)

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What Is Verbal Identity

Stephen Houraghan

Look verbal identity is relatively new. 

When we talk about household words that we all know and recognize in branding and marketing. 

So tell us how you got into verbal identity and really exactly what it is from your perspective?


Chris West

Well, I sometimes think the whole of my career has been a few inadvertent decisions that have taken me off in the right direction.

So 10 or 12 years ago, I was running an advertising business and we had clients as diverse as sky and Christie’s and that was all wonderful. 

But each time I left a meeting and my background is a copywriter in ad agencies, but each time I left a meeting in that previous business client about 10 or 12 years ago, client would grab me by the sleeve and say, Hey Chris, you are a writer.

Can you help us write 2000 words before breakfast tomorrow morning? and I was like, yeah. Okay, I know what you’re asking.

What you really need though, is a way of controlling and conjuring your verbal brand, just as much as you control and conjure your visual brand or your experience brand or anything.

So really 10, 12 years ago, that was it, I could see that I loved brand, I loved brand strategy and I loved brand language as well. And if I could wind those two together, I thought, well, that would be amazing. 

And so I thought, Okay, the name is probably for, this is probably verbal identity and I was like, okay, that’s great. That’s it? 

And then someone said, well, that term verbal identity was invented 10 years ago and I said, well, no, I didn’t know that. OK. But I think, you know, it, it recognizes that there’s been a resurgence in interest in the identity, in the verbal identity of a brand

How Verbal Identity Is Becoming More Prominent Today

Stephen Houraghan

Beautiful, so you actually thought that you were coining a term and somebody had blazed the trail 10 years before you.

So why do you think now verbal identity is becoming more prominent today and we’re starting to talk about it a bit more. 

Why do you think that is?

Chris West

I think it’s moving from being interesting to being useful and from moving from being important to being critical. 

And by that, I mean I suppose you and I, and everyone else would agree that it’s obvious really that there are more channels today that a brand needs to be in than there’s ever been before.

And a lot of those channels are heavy or dominated by language. 

So sure you want to turn up in those different channels, with an identity and language, it’s as strong as your visual identity. I think we would all agree that,

But I think there are a couple of other things going on as the first is when you think about it,

we know that customers, consumers, clients, they want to be in a dialogue with brands they love.

We’re in this kind of crazy world where if you like this brand of milk, then you kind of wanna be talking to them because they’re moving away. 

They’ve managed to move away from this big corporate entity conceptualization of themselves to people like you, people like us. 

And they’re offering a conversation, they’re offering an opening for us as a consumer to get into a conversation and that’s wonderful if you’re a brand owner, you know, people wanna be in a conversation with you. 

So I think that’s the other thing. 

I think more channels never before, but more consumers that wanna be in a conversation with brands they love, but there’s probably something else going on.

And I think that’s society has changed so much in the last three years, or there have been so many societal shocks in the last three years that consumers now are saying to brands. 

What’s your view on this matter?

What’s your view on black lives matter? 

What’s your view on this climate crisis? 

What’s your view on this? 

And I think suddenly if a brand can’t answer, if it doesn’t have a voice it’s being called out for it.

So I think there’s always been a need for it, but I think they need to give a brand an 



Coherent Voice 

Are now critical rather than kind of useful. 

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