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The insidious curse of adequate brand language

Creating rich brand language may be one of the most overlooked opportunities. Great words can activate the most powerful tool available to us — our prospect’s imagination. No picture, song, or video can paint as rich a picture as our own imagination.

Think of the times we have been given the seed of an idea. Then our imagination takes over and creates a rich tapestry from that seed. It’s effortless. In fact, it is virtually unstoppable. We are just wired this way. Drop a potent seed of an idea on us and watch it quickly flourish into a story in our imagination.

That potent seed is created when we take the time to craft great language.

The digital tools have made it too easy. We can throw down a few words in an online ad builder. Add in a picture of a couple of smiling people and, presto, we’re promoting our brand. Load it up and let’s call it a day. It’s all too easy.

This is how we get the morass of bad brand work that plagues our online experience today. Oh, these messages feel professional with a passing glance. But that’s all they get from us. Because it just feels like something is missing. If we were to actually stop and give these executions a closer examination, we would discover a theme that emerges all too often. There is simply very little reason to care. And it’s rare that someone takes the time to craft something that creates the opportunity for us to feel enchanted.

Getting to enchantment is not that elusive. But we’re going to have to stop settling for adequate as we’re cranking out that next execution. That means we can’t expect enchantment by dashing off three bullet points detailing our features.

In today’s fast-paced environment, it is seductively simple to rationalize that “good enough” will do. The technology has made it insidiously easy to settle for something adequate. We need to embrace the power of our words to spark the imagination. To trigger surprise and delight. To even inspire those we hope to serve. That can feel nearly magical. And we need that magic, because it’s too easy to fall under the curse of adequate brand language.

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the forthcoming 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.

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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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