Last Updated: July 4, 2019 8:11AM
Corporate language plays a major role in the identity and impact of your company and brand.
But what makes your corporate language yours? Have you defined it? Or does every employee in every department write as they please?
What is “corporate language,” and what tools do you need to define and manage yours? Let’s take a look.
What is corporate language?
“Corporate language” comprises the words and visuals your company uses to communicate internally and externally. It influences corporate communication as a whole, from internal messaging to web content, press releases, annual reports, and advertising slogans.
International companies with multiple target markets usually communicate in several languages. Therefore, localized messages are of central importance in every target market.
Corporate language is an important part of your company’s image and identity. For example, language creates an impression of your company in the minds of stakeholders, including customers, business partners, shareholders, and prospective employees.
Convincing and effective communication requires corporate language that is consistent, clear, and personal. For example:
- Consistent: If engineers and technical editors in a company use different terms to describe the same components, confusion is inevitable. The resulting need for extra clarity can create inefficiency and additional costs. Using clearly-defined and consistent technical terms enhances efficiency.
- Clear: Website content filled with technical jargon leads to high bounce rates. Simple, clear language tailored to the reader generates interest and builds trust in your brand.
- Personal: To connect on a personal level with your customers, your company needs to clearly define its target audience and consistently address it using the right tone. Develop a specific linguistic style to show customers you care about them—and to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Two tools you need to define and maintain your corporate language
How do you define and manage your corporate language to keep it consistent, clear, and personal? How do you define rules and terminology for use across your organization?
To define and manage corporate language, you need the right tools, including:
- Language style guides that ensure a consistent tone and style in all languages; and
- A corporate dictionary in all languages in which you do business that defines terms specific to your company and industry
Tool number one: Language style guides
The communications department is usually responsible for crafting and enforcing language style guides.
Authors, editors, and translators—both within and outside your company, including your language service provider—should adhere to these guides.
Language style guides provide answers to questions such as: are we using German for Switzerland or for Germany? How do we spell company and brand names? Do we write out currencies in full or as abbreviations?
Style guides should also define the voice and tone of your company. For example, is your style “trendy” for a young target group? Or are you targeting a more established professional audience with “traditional” language? Codify your choice in your style guide to ensure consistency of voice across authors, media, and languages.
Tool number two: Online corporate dictionary
Corporate terminology and technical glossaries are closely linked to language style guides. Large companies use thousands of technical terms in their communications. In an ideal scenario, they manage terminology with appropriate tools that are available to users across the enterprise.
Global companies communicate in 10 or more languages. A multilingual online corporate dictionary helps writers, editors, and translators identify the right terms quickly and use them consistently for all documents and translations, in all company languages. Additional information, such as definitions or information on the use of terms, makes these guides particularly helpful.
Professionally created and managed corporate dictionaries support both customer communications and internal messaging. Have you ever witnessed operations, marketing, and sales departments using different names for the same parts, products, or processes? You’re not alone—many companies experience such inconsistency, which can lead to expensive misunderstandings. A centralized corporate dictionary ensures clarity, consistency, and efficiency.
We help you define and manage your corporate language
Is it time to create your own language style guide? Could your employees and providers benefit from a centralized online corporate dictionary for technical and company terminology? Contact us to learn how we can help you create language style guides and manage your company’s unique terminology to promote consistent, clear, and personal corporate language.