The Growing Importance of Microcopy in Branding

Illustration by Lily via Dribbble

How often have you immediately taken to a brand because of the brand voice? A simple tagline or a product description could attract us to a brand. Similarly, people will hesitate to engage with a brand that has an unclear or arrogant voice.

In branding, verbal identity is as important as visual identity. The brand voice shapes the brand personality and sets the style guideline for interacting with the audience.

In today’s competitive market, for a brand to stand out, a strong effort is required toward creating a verbal identity. For digital products, microcopy is emerging as a potent element in a brand’s verbal identity that can make it distinct.

If you don’t know what microcopy is, this article will help you understand what it is and its importance in branding. Let’s start with the basics.

What is Microcopy

What is Microcopy
Illustration by Toptal Designers via Dribbble

Microcopy refers to the small sentences that are used in digital products for interacting with users. The goal of microscopy is to make the users’ experience of engaging with the product interface simple and easy. Microcopy can be used for different purposes, such as to guide the users, provide information, and create a connection.

A simple example of a microcopy is an error message. Earlier, the error messages used to be quite technical with error codes and other numbers. But today, we can see that error messages are displayed in simple language, which is understandable for users.

Not only that, different brands create their own unique style of displaying error messages, which enhances their brand personality.

The Role of Microcopy in Branding

Generally, a microcopy should be simple and friendly. They should be clear and express the intended message concisely.

Now, let’s see the role that they play in branding. While building a brand identity, a verbal identity is created, which describes the tone, voice, and other traits of the brand.

The microcopy should complement this brand identity in order to create consistency as well as develop a memorable experience for the users.

Let’s see why consistency is important. Imagine you use a casual and fun brand voice in all your marketing communications for a digital product. An interested person will approach the product with an expectation derived from the marketing materials.

Now, suppose, upon interacting with the product, he realizes that the microcopy has a formal voice. He will be disappointed and may stop interacting with the product. That is why it is important to maintain consistency in the marketing content and microcopy.

Today, using unique microcopy to stand out from the crowd and build a distinguished identity is growing as a valuable marketing tactic. Ecommerce apps, food delivery apps, etc., are making use of this strategy to attract more customers.

In the end, people gravitate towards the product that creates a connection with them. And microcopy is an appropriate element for the same.

Benefits of a Good Microcopy

How does a good microcopy contribute to branding? What are the areas where a microcopy can create an impact?

Let’s take a look.

 icon-angle-right Brand recognition

Words are excellent tools for creating an emotional connection and a memorable face for your brand. A unique microcopy can help the brand identity of your digital product stand out and be recognized among peers.

 icon-angle-right Competitive advantage

In today’s highly competitive market, microcopy is a great tool to attract an audience. People are looking for good experiences and will naturally go towards the brands that provide them.

Nobody wants to engage with a brand they cannot relate to anymore. It’s all about finding brands that resonate with them. Microcopy plays a significant role in creating that connection.

 icon-angle-right Better conversion

Good copy encourages people to take action. The goal of marketing is to bring leads, and copy plays a crucial role in it. Thus, an effective copy can increase the customer conversion rate.

 icon-angle-right User retention

A great thing about microcopy is that it acts as a source of guiding light for users in every stage of their interaction with a digital product. For example, a bad microcopy may tell users that their order is cancelled and provide no information for further action.

A good microcopy, on the other hand, will tell users that their order is cancelled and give them options to replace the order or provide alternate suggestions. Thus, a good microcopy will help retain users of a brand.

 icon-angle-right Customer trust

Building customer trust is important to create authentic relationships. Microcopy helps to build trust by creating an emotional connection with the audience. It acts as an advocate for customers, always keeping them at the centre and catering to their needs.

How to Get Started with Writing Microcopy

Creating Relevant Content Illustration
Illustration by vectorjuice –

The first thing to do for creating a microcopy is to decide on the brand voice. The voice should remain consistent throughout all branding materials, marketing channels, and product interfaces. In order to decide the voice for a brand, the initial step is to know who the users are.

The voice should be modelled depending on the target audience. For example, if the target audience of a brand is youngsters, the voice should be fun and casual. On the other hand, if the target audience is mature, the voice should be formal and respectful.

To identify the target audience and their behaviour, ask questions such as:

  • Who are the customers
  • What are their pain points
  • What are their expectations
  • What is their lifestyle
  • What are the things they like to do

This will give an idea about what kind of voice is the best to interact with them. Moreover, to understand the target audience better, research the competitor brands and see the level of interaction they receive. By identifying what receives more responses from users, it is possible to identify users’ likes and dislikes.

The brand voice should also resonate with a company’s image; therefore, it is important to do some research about the organization and its values. Think about what words reflect the company and use them in the copy. Keep them as a guideline for creating the microcopy for the digital product.

Microcopy in Branding: Things to Take Care

Microcopy helps to portray a brand in a more defined way. It helps to create a personal connection and makes a brand more inviting for the audience.

A few things to take care when using microcopy in branding are:

 icon-angle-right Don’t use jargon:

Since microcopy is all about small texts, using jargon may seem like a good idea to minimize words. But, industry-specific jargon may make the audience feel intimidated. It is always best to find alternative words that are simple and understandable for the audience.

 icon-angle-right Be brief:

Ideally, a microcopy should be no more than a single sentence. The idea of microcopy is to guide the audience rather than entice them. A marketing material can have an elaborative copy, and a microcopy is used as an addition to nudge people to take action.

For example, in the case of an ecommerce website, captivating product descriptions are marketing copy, and the copy on the action button that leads visitors to buy a product is the microcopy.

(Remember, maintaining brand voice consistency everywhere is key here)

 icon-angle-right Don’t overload:

Microcopy should be used sparingly. Stuffing too much microcopy will look confusing and defeat the purpose of guiding the audience. To know how much is too much, run an A/B test on the design and see how differently people react to the different sets. From the insights received, a conclusion can be reached.

 icon-angle-right Use humour wisely:

Humor is often used in marketing copy of brands. While it hugely depends on the brand and its personality, for microcopy, it’s best not to use puns.

Since microcopy is associated with digital products, users may come across the same copy multiple times during their interaction. So, there is a big chance that the humour may backfire and irritate the users.

 icon-angle-right Be positive:

Nobody likes being critiqued. Talk to the users in a positive way and be helpful even when their actions are wrong. For example, consider a scenario where a user is entering their email address to subscribe to a newsletter list.

If the email address is wrong, a message like “Are you sure you entered the right email id” will be more positive than “incorrect email id”. It will make the users feel good and contribute to their whole experience with the brand.

Wrapping Up

A brand voice shapes your business persona, and every single word contributes to the overall brand experience. Microcopy can really help to translate the core brand values through helpful, short texts.

By understanding the audience and speaking their language, microcopy reduces the gap between brands and people. Moreover, it can be used to bring consistency across all touchpoints, which contributes to the credibility and trustworthiness of a brand.

In our real-life conversations with people, we often remember small snippets that stay with us for days after the conversation.

Similarly, in people’s interactions with brands, these small texts called microcopy can create a memorable impression and encourage people to interact with them. Won’t we love to talk more to people whose conversations we remember? The same applies to branding, too!

About the Author!

Fazmeena is a content writer at Aufait UX, an award winning UI UX design agency in India. She is a firm advocate of user experience design in digital platforms and loves to curate content related to design.

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