Are Your Words Killing Your Brand?
It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Karon Thackston – Enjoy!
While there are hundreds of definitions of the word “brand,” my favorites come from the World English Dictionary. As a noun: “a particular product or a characteristic that serves to identify a particular product.” And as a verb: “to give a product a distinctive identity.”
Most of us keep our brands in mind as we develop product packaging or choose color schemes for websites. However, all too often, we arbitrarily pick words when writing marketing copy and content without so much as a thought about branding. Generic word choices fail to evoke an emotional connection and attachment to our brands that, in turn, can actually harm recognition and growth.
Good Examples of Brand-Oriented Words
Let’s watch a couple of videos and I’ll show you what I mean. Have a pen or keyboard handy and jot down the words that catch your attention or make an impression on you.
Video #1 – Gillette Body Razor
Did your list contain these words/phrases?
- Off-road razor
- Take you where you want to go
What do they all have in common? They are words commonly classified as masculine/manly. They give a visual impression of a man’s body that this target audience will want to be associated with. Sure, Gillette could have written video copy that said something like, “Trying to shave your body is way different than shaving your face, dude. You’ve got all those curves and you can cut yourself if you aren’t careful. Our new body razor pivots and makes it easier to shave across uneven surfaces.”
That would be accurate, but it wouldn’t live up to the brand. That type of copy also wouldn’t get anywhere near the same reaction as calling a guy’s body “rugged terrain” that requires an “off-road razor” for shaving. The copy is specific to the brand as well as the precise target segment for this product.
Video #2 – USAA Insurance
Right away, from the first words spoken, I picked up on the phrases:
- Mine was earned
- Handed down
- Generation to generation
- Superior level of protection
To wrap it up, the voiceover copy used “begin your legacy…”
What do those phrases say to you? For me, I get the message that USAA insurance isn’t just bought, it has to be warranted. Because USAA only provides insurance to military families and their dependents, you have to be part of a somewhat exclusive club. That immediately adds value to any brand because it separates the company from the mass marketplace.
In addition, the terms “handed down,” “generation to generation” and “legacy” show that this product has value and is worthy of being considered an inheritance of sorts. That boosts the perception of this brand instantly.
Is this practice just for video copywriting? Absolutely not! It’s for writing website copy, social media posts, blog articles or any other type of content you produce. Your brand, and the words that represent it, should stretch fully across the entire landscape of your marketing efforts.
Do This Before You Kill Your Brand
Performing this quick exercise will help you discover the best words to support and promote your brand. Once you have a good idea of the communication style you want to use, you can boost all your marketing copy and content with more power to persuade, engage and remember.
1. Determine How You Want Your Brand to Be Known
Create a list of words/phrases that should come to the minds of your target audience when they hear the mention of your brand.
2. Get a Copywriting Thesaurus
Books like “Words that Sell” by Richard Bayan are excellent for giving you different, enticing words to use, so your copy doesn’t sound ordinary.
3. Ask Yourself Questions
How do your target customers perceive themselves? Are they stereotypical manly men? Are they power women who kick corporate butt? Whatever it is, add to your list words/phrases that relate to their world in the areas of work, play, relationships, goals, self-perceptions, etc.
As you discover more about your customers, expand your list of words so you have a never-ending source of nouns and verbs that capture attention and remembrance for your brand.
Karon Thackston is President of Marketing Words helping businesses convert better, rank higher and sell more. Having worked with companies including Gorton’s Seafood, American Boating Association and others, Karon builds success through copywriting, SEO copywriting and conversion techniques for businesses of all sizes. Download Karon’s “Copywriting Makeovers” ebook for real-world case studies that can equip you to boost the performance of your website.