Why Words Should Drive your Brand’s Differentiation
(and 4 tips for how to do it for yours)
Before you tinker with targeting, before you settle on a design, before you even choose a platform to distribute your advertising, there are words we implicitly associate with brands.
It might sound elementary, but choosing the right words for your brand’s messaging is critical to being understood by your target audience.
We’ve all seen memes mocking corporate speak....
but underneath the humor, there is an element of truth: many brands sound the same, leaving one idea in a consumer’s mind…
If you can harness the power of language, your words will start to serve your brand rather than hinder it.
But What Does It All Mean?
It means being intentional with the words you choose to represent your brand. And not just each individual words, but phrases and linguistic nuances that help evoke your message in the most powerful way that resonates with your audience.
Sounds simple enough?
But we all know in practice, it’s a lot more challenging.
Here are 4 simple ways to shift your language to drive your brand’s differentiation strategy:
1. Avoid jargon!
All industries have jargon.
And while jargon is a useful shorthand for conversations with internal stakeholders, it is a dreadful trap for marketers to use in their brand’s messaging.
“Jargon masks real meaning,” according to University of California-Berkeley's Haas School of Business professor, Jennifer Chatman.
Using jargon only puts your message out of reach for your consumers, making you unrelatable and confusing.
Avoiding jargon like the plague puts your message in a far better position to be understood.
Bonus points: instead of using jargon, why not help your consumers understand it with a glossary.
Not only will you separate yourself from your competitors, you’ll position yourself as an authority in the minds of your target audience.
2. Understand the way your audience speaks
As mentioned above, marketers often make the mistake of using Corporate speak for their branded messaging.
A much better strategy is to comprehensively research your audience and understand the words and phrases they use.
Remember: your message is only effective if it is UNDERSTOOD by your audience
Not if it sounds ‘good’ or ‘right’ to you.
Warning: you have to be careful when implementing this strategy.
The words have to be incorporated authentically and sound natural or else you risk sounding disingenuous.
Everyone cringes when their parents try to sound ‘down with the kids’.
Your brand is no exception
3. Use Not Utilize
Complicated language is the bane of any consumer’s existence.
It’s hard enough to sift through a product offering without dealing with overly wordy language.
As messaging expert, Zach Messler states, ‘stop saying ‘utilize’, say ‘use’. You don’t sound smart, you sound obnoxious’.
Leave the flowery language for Shakespeare.
For your brand, your number 1 priority should be being understood by your audience.
So use easy-to-understand language and be clear and concise with your words.
4. Mobile First
Readability is king in 2019.
And that starts by adopting a mobile-first attitude to how you construct your sentences.
Without getting too meta on you…
Even this article was written with readability in mind. Instead of extensive paragraphs, I used short, sharp sentences to make it easy on the eyes, so it is more engaging to the user.
According to Campaign Monitor, 52% of users are less likely to engage with a brand because of bad mobile experience.
With 58% of website visits occurring on mobile, catering to this format is essential for your brand’s success.
Be Wise with your Words
Words are the simplest way of forming our message. Use them wisely and your brand will stand-out.
Fail to do so, and watch your brand fall into the area of mediocre corporate messaging.
If you’re using your words in the right way, you’ll be well on your way to entertaining, inspiring, or educating your customers.
And that can only help your brand reach the next level!