What is cognitive dissonance from a copywriting point of view?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - copywriting

There are factors which can result in your audience scrolling away from your post or clicking your blog closed.  One of those factors is cognitive dissonance, which if not managed, can cost you money and time.  We take a look at what it is, and how we can mitigate its effect.

Cognitive dissonance defined

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological concept that deals with the idea of being caught in a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviours.  It often causes mental discomfort.  An example is a smoker cognisant of the fact that cigarettes cause cancer.  Incongruence in your copy can create a sense of cognitive dissonance.  It is therefore essential to take the necessary steps to create cohesion in your copy.  To avoid cognitive dissonance, consider the following:

Determine your brand voice and tone

Defining your brand voice and tone provides direction to people creating copy for your business.  It helps them to accurately represent the vision of your brand.  The voice of your brand is the personality of your brand shown through writing.   It must communicate what your brand represents to the desired target market.  It is unchanged, compared to brand tone.  Brand tone is how something is said.  It portrays values using a particular style e.g. warm or formal. It changes to suit the need of a particular campaign.  Some steps to determine a brand voice and tone as well as ensure it is consistently communicated:

  1. Establish a strong idea of who your audience is.
  2. Collect examples of copy that represents your brand as inspiration.
  3. Highlight three words that you want to be identified with your brand. How you would like your target audience to describe you?
  4. Create a brand voice chart. Review this over time and make changes as needed.

Create a style guide

A style guide outlines your brand personality and how it is portrayed through your copy.  It creates consistency by providing a unified point of reference.  The format of a style guide is unique to your business needs.  Some subsections can include:

  • Goal of the business and brand.
  • Guidelines for tense, voice as well as point of view.
  • Formatting rules for different platforms.
  • Prescribed punctuation and grammar: Determine what spelling will be used (e.g. American English). A word list may come in handy.  It can include terms that should be avoided.  Suitable alternatives to industry jargon can also be documented.
  • Writing guides for different types of content such as blogs, social media posts, and advertisements.
  • Prerequisite checklists for approving copy.

The key take away is that providing a cohesive message to your audience avoids cognitive dissonance making it more compelling.  Implementing a few structured methods ensures content that complies with your brand intent.

Get in touch with the Digital School of Marketing

Dreaming about creating riveting content? Want to learn more tips and tricks on how to make your copy the best it’s ever been? Check out how we can help: https://digitalschoolofmarketing.co.za/courses/

Digital School Of Marketing - Copy Writing