Welcome back to #MondayMorningBrainDisfunction – the blog that’s a safe place for all those struggling to get the work week started…the blog where we welcome nappy hair and bad breath (well, ok – maybe not so much the bad breath). This is where we come together to discuss ONE, simple – but important – topic in the big world of marketing.
(I know. I said we’d cover ONE thing and now you’re wondering what you got yourself into! An English lesson? I promise, this ain’t gonna be your old high school grammar class…it will definitely be much more nerdy than that.)
Creative Branding: It’s All in the Adjective
Have you ever watched a commercial or read an ad and found yourself actually drawn towards a product that you don’t want, don’t need and have never before ever considered purchasing? If so, then you’ve been seduced by the power of great marketing.
I believe there are two kinds of marketing genius:
- There are those who know how to identify and pursue a target persona and market to them by offering to provide what that particular prospect already wants (this is the genius and effectiveness of inbound marketing).
- Then there are those who have mastered mind control.
No, seriously though. It might not be mind control, but it certainly is “mind influence,” if we can call it that. Some of the most creative branding out there ends up drawing in an entirely new crowd simply based on the power of the messaging. In essence, the message is so compelling that it, in itself, creates a new buyer persona that never before existed. Let me give you an example that I just came across this week:
When you think of the term “face lift,” what comes to mind? Go ahead, call it out. Older women. Plastic surgery. Cosmetic alteration. Fake. It’s not that we have a necessarily negative perception of face lifts, its just that we know what they are, who they are for and there’s a certain stigma sometimes associated with cosmetic surgery.
Now… consider the term “lifestyle lift.” Without knowing what the product is, what comes to mind when you read those words? Healthy. Self improvement. Holistic. Wellness. A closer look at the product reveals that it is…drum roll please…a face lift! Wow! Look at the power that a change in adjective can have! We went from “fake” to “holistic” and the product never changed. (And that’s how you get a 25 year old to seriously consider whether she should get a face lift.)
The Grammar Lesson:
Here’s the lesson. It’s pretty simple:
#1: Adjectives are Like Friends: you should choose them wisely.
Examples: Mac Pro identifies itself as “beauty on the outside, beast on the inside.” Harley Davidson is “American by birth, rebel by choice.” Ajax is “stronger than dirt” and Subway lets you “eat fresh.”
#2: Words Have Connotations: you should use the ones that work to your advantage.
Examples: stigma vs. perception, proud vs. confident, childish vs. young
I think that’s plenty to chew on for this monday morning. While our brains are warming up, let me challenge you to think about your company’s branding:
Are you making the most of the words that will work for you?