Your understanding of the power of words is vital to brand success. Language shapes the way we see the world because it helps us make sense of the chaos.
Through the ages, people have debated this idea, but now we have the science to support the claim.
For example, colour perceptions differ between different cultures. The Ancient Greeks didn’t have a name for the colour blue. Because they didn’t use the same colours that we do, the Ancient Greeks described the sky as having a golden colour, the sea dark wine.
So that you can understand the true power of language, think about how different words bring about different emotions in you. Throughout history, leaders have used carefully crafted speeches to create specific reactions in their audience.
During World War II, Winston Churchill’s use of language helped keep morale high, despite heavy losses. We still use some of his quotes to help us rally when times get tough. “When you’re going through hell, keep going!” can help make the toughest of times a little easier.
Words have consequences for how we see the world. They help inform opinion. The words you use to talk about your business shape other people’s perceptions – customers, employees, suppliers.
Because of this, the right words have the power to drive your business forward.
The Power of Words to Shape Brand Perception
Harnessing the power of words is a large part of what marketing and branding are all about. It should therefore come as no surprise to learn that businesses spend an average of 11% of their company budget on marketing.
There are two key ways that words affect how people see your business:
- The way you talk about your brand, e.g., through content marketing, at conferences and networking events
- The way other people talk about your brand, e.g., through online reviews, stories in the media
Your business’s ability to frame the conversation positively is different depending on which of the two we look at. With branding and marketing, you have a lot of control over the language used. With outside influences, you are less able to control the conversation and therefore perception.
Consequently, both types have the power to change your business for the better or worse.
Coca-Cola is so good at branding, that they’ve even claimed, “If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.”
Yes, words have power. Ignore or misunderstand it at your peril.
How to Harness the Power of Words
You can’t control your brand narrative to such a degree that things never go wrong – Gillette wasn’t trying to get bad publicity (although, sometimes this works too!) but you can insure against future problems by using the right language at the right time.
Good use of language in branding is your ability to create positive associations with your brand in the mind of your customers. To do this, you have to follow the principles that guide good content. Just as you build social relationships on trust, mutual interest, and giving more than you take, the same is true with branding. You must be honest, unique, down-to-earth, and humanizing. So, avoid jargon, talking down to people, oversaturating them with information that they don’t need.
To help minimise the risk of negative publicity when people talk about your brand, you need to focus on clear communication with your customers. They must understand as much as possible about the advantages and disadvantages of using your products and services. This means anticipating their questions and queries before they ask them so if the answers are readily on hand. You can do this via your content marketing, being sure to create videos and blogs that answer common questions.
Therefore, you have to be present in the conversations that people have about your brand. If you have a social media account, for example, he needs to spend time there talking with your customers. So turn up on feedback and review sites, offering help and support. Consequently, a strong Customer Services department is paramount to getting this right. It’s an opportunity to speak directly with your customers and use their feedback to drive your branding.
How the Power of Words can help your Business
The language people use to talk about your brand affects perceptions for better or worse. For this reason, businesses need to understand how to use the power of language to their advantage. It isn’t about tricking people with clever words but explaining how and why you are important in their lives.
Therefore, you can, and must, be present in shaping the conversation. Lion Spirit Media can help you communicate in effective and powerful ways. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you do that.