What Brands Can Learn From Shakespeare

The title page from an antique book of the plays of Shakespeare

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Shakespeare coined a number of phrases. Brands should take a leaf out of his book and create their own unique brand language.


There’s only one Shakespeare, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t play with language.

Today’s overvisualized world trends toward companies that communicate stories using imagery instead of text. With such a rich database of visuals at their fingertips, many brands often neglect the significance of developing unique brand language.

As humans, we can’t fully experience something until we have the language to express it – and we aren’t lacking in words to do so. According to the Global Language Monitor, there are 1,025,109 words in the English language. New words appear each day and shape our understanding. But when it comes to powerful verbal branding, it’s not simply the words that are used but how we use them that uniquely communicate the brand.

A verbal identity is the expression of what a brand stands for and how it’s different from competitors. This includes unique words and phrases and a distinctive voice and tone. A good verbal identity is one in which you can take away all the visual elements of the brand and still recognize the brand.

As we grow towards a competitive future filled with infinite brands and choices, creating a unique voice and tone is imperative. Shakespeare was a master of language and invented over 1,700 words and phrases, including words like eyeball, silliness, and uncomfortable. “Love is blind,” “all’s well that ends well,” and “dead as a door nail” are phrases he coined that are still used today.

Today, thousands of companies are essentially selling the same thing, using the exact same language. Take bottled water, for example. There are over 700 different brands selling bottled water in the U.S. alone. Each of them touts their refreshing taste, pure source, and high quality. The difference, for the most part, isn’t the water. It’s the branding.

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