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4 exercises to create irresistible brand language

In a previous post, I wrote about the 3 secrets to creating irresistible brand language (and threw in a bonus secret for good measure.) It’s nice to have these guides. It’s even better to have some working exercises to help you put it all into practice.

The first step to creating irresistible brand language is to have an intimate understanding of those you hope to serve. You’ll be surprised by the things that emerge when you take the time to write down the details.

Exercise: Who, What, & How. Write down who it is that you hope to serve. That means documenting all the things that describe them. Here are some examples:

Write down who it is that you hope to serve. That means documenting all the things that describe them. Here are some examples:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Marital status and family
  • Where they live
  • Income

Write down what they think.

  • Describe their biggest challenge (that relates to what your brand can do for them)
  • Describe how they think about your brand
  • Describe their desire or aspiration

Write down how they act

  • How do they deal with their biggest challenge?
  • How do their aspirations drive what they do?

Once you have all this down, compile it all into one sheet. This one sheet will be your go-to reference as you create your brand language, helping you judge whether or not what you have created is relevant and resonant with those you hope to serve.

Our brand language takes a hit when we talk more about ourselves than those we hope to serve.

Exercise: What’s in it for me? Identify parts of your writing that talk about what you do or how you do it.

Example: We are the area’s leading supplier of high-quality widgets.

Now put yourself in the shoes of those you hope to serve and turn this statement around to address a challenge or desire they have.

Example: With access to the area’s largest selection of high-quality widgets, you can say goodbye to hassles and delays of special orders when you need something out-of-the-ordinary.

When you make your language about them, it becomes more compelling.

Exercise: The “we” opportunity. If you go through the previous exercise, you’ll find yourself eliminating “we” from your brand language. There is a powerful way to insert “we” back into your language and help make you irresistible to those you hope to serve.

We’re going to use “we” to define our customers, our prospects, and ourselves. Using “we” in this way communicates that we’re all in this together. It demonstrates empathy. Here is an example from a bank.

Example: We all deserve to have a better relationship with our money. To feel like it’s doing everything it can for us. And to have a better handle on how it’s coming and going. So we can make better decisions, have less anxiety about our money, and maybe even work on some of those dreams we have.

Using “we” in this manner helps those you hope to serve feel like they are not alone in their struggles. Or, more powerfully, it helps them feel like they are part of a movement to make things better for everyone.

A lot of corporate language can feel cold and impersonal. Like we were being addressed by a machine. The scary thing is that it is easier to write this way. If we want our prospects to find our brand irresistible, then our language needs to feel human.

Exercise: Friend to friend. Imagine that you were telling a good friend about what your brand has to say. One on one. You wouldn’t want to be pushy. You would want to be honest. And helpful. What would you say to that good friend? Write it down.

Don’t worry about being grammatically correct. In fact, make it grammatically incorrect. Don’t be afraid of sentences that start with conjunctions (and, but, etc.). Or sentence fragments.

Giving ourselves permission to construct our language this way can be incredibly freeing. We can always go back and edit. And it’s much easier than writing something stiff and then trying to breathe some life into it.

The best brand language causes an emotional reaction. From laughter to goose bumps. Think about what emotion your brand can own as you work your way through the exercises. Then start to create the language that brings that emotion to life. The language that makes your brand irresistible.

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

Originally published at https://www.dansalva.com on March 12, 2020.

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Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.

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