Never underestimate the power of language

On today’s episode of Word on the Street, Katie speaks to Chris West, Amazon #1 Best-selling author, and CEO of Verbal Identity – Super-specialists in creating tone of voice guidelines, copywriting and copywriting training.

Chris is a unique combination of insightful strategic thinker and highly-awarded writer. He founded Verbal Identity in 2010 to help business and department leaders define the strategic vision and bring it to life with language. He still works closely with Verbal Identities clients and takes a limited number of Advisory positions on his clients’ Boards, including Votary and Pittsburgh Mercantile.

In his career prior, Chris ran a project-based advertising agency for 10 years working with global clients. He was one of London’s most awarded copywriters his work across the Guardian, adidas, British Airways and the Conservative Party. In 2016, he was the convening President for the inaugural verbal branding jury at the LIA. His book, ‘How Words Work’, was recognised at the 2017 D&AD Awards.

Outside of work, he contributes to The Sunday Times and is a Contributing Editor at a leading UK luxury magazine. He wrote “A Little Worm” which won Best Film at the Barcelona Film Festival.

You can purchase the fantastic book ‘Strong Language: The Fastest, Smartest, Cheapest Marketing Tool You’re Not Using’ by number one author Chris West here:

In this episode you will hear:

  • How to drive more sales and opportunities by developing a strong language
  • Understanding brilliant language
  • Discovering and developing your identity and tone of voice
  • Differentiating yourself as an agency

There were so many amazing takeaways from today’s episode, and these were just a few of our favourites.

How developing a strong language can drive more sales

In order to develop a strong language, looking at your branding and trying to understand the power of language is a good place to start. Being able to understand what’s happening in language and what it is that makes it so compelling will help you to develop, discover, and identify the right kind of language that will engage your audience. Agencies need to be relevant and do the things that clients want, and bring this to life through language.

An equation Chris West likes to use…Relevance X Differentiation = Dollars

Relevance = Responding to the client’s needs. Differentiation = What will get you bought and purchased, and truly explain why you are the best fit for the client.

Developing your tone of voice

Develop your identity, understand why you are relevant, understand how you differentiate yourself, and develop your tone of voice to help you show up in the best way.
How can you build a consistent brand voice that’s also flexible? You can’t do this by using old-school methods of using just 4 adjectives on a page and you can’t define yourself by taking an approach that’s too simplistic. The best voice for an agency or brand is the voice of the brand. How can you stand out from the other agencies you are competing against? Use the magic of creativity, and sell your story. Everyone in the agency or business is responsible for representing the business and the voice of the brand, making it recognisable, and being able to flex it.

Differentiating your agency

How clear are you on how you differentiate yourselves as an agency? What is your point of differentiation? Responding to your client’s needs is good, but by differentiating yourself and explaining why you are the best fit for your prospect and articulating it better than your competitors, you’ve won. Bring your unique personality to life through language in order to differentiate yourself. Be bold, adventurous, and clear on what’s different about you!

Links & references

Katie Street:
Chris West:

Our Sponsor

Series 6 of Word on the Street is sponsored by Tanba, The Agency New Business Academy, is a brand-new initiative aimed at equipping agencies of all sizes with the knowledge, content, partnerships, and opportunities needed to accelerate agency growth by optimising their new business ‘engine’. Tanba is an on-demand and affordable solution for agencies looking to upskill their team via training courses, content and insights delivered by our panel of industry experts, leaders, and partners.

The academy is all about empowering agency teams to get noticed, attract opportunities, increase conversion rates, and reduce the costs associated with the sales process. Visit to find out more and start empowering your agency.