Marketing Language: Make Your Brand a Verb


Published on

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Marketing Language: Make Your Brand a Verb

  1. 1.   Marketing language: Make your brand a verb Rebecca Moody, with Diana Caplinska and Chris Skillicor Admap May 2012 
  2. 2.     Title: Marketing language: Make your brand a verb   Author(s): Rebecca Moody, with Diana Caplinska and Chris Skillicor   Source: Admap   Issue: May 2012 Marketing language: Make your brand a verb Rebecca Moody, Diana Caplinska and Chris Skillicor Euro RSCG LondonLanguage and choice of words are a powerful part of a brands armoury and can propel the brand from a single adinto common parlance.Mark Twain once said: "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – tis thedifference between the lightning bug and the lightning."Before any idea, before any script or any line, comes the right word. Words are building blocks for brands that, when chosencorrectly, can translate feelings and thoughts into ideas that can be shared. Gustav Flaubert used an expression: le mot juste,the exact right word in the exact right position. As any planner or copywriter who has sat flicking through Rogets for inspirationwill testify, its a burning desire to find le mot juste: the one word that will ignite the kind of lightning ideas that spread likecultural wildfire.Richard Dawkins coined the term meme: "A noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation."Dawkins points out examples of memes as: "tunes, catchphrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches",cultural units that propagate themselves leaping from mind to mind.Linguistic memes often prompt a significance that becomes even more recognisable and meaningful than their initialdenotation (are you a Mac?). And that says much about our work. At least 50% of what we do is words, in some way relatedto language: be it verbal or visual. And in this era of highly conversant social media, the creation of memetic language addsreal marketing value. The challenge is to create the kind of linguistic genius (rather than vanilla buzzwords) that helps brandstake a real grip.And while success cannot always be planned for (some random ideas will always take off, innit), we have observed three keyways to achieve the best return on your choice of words. Downloaded from warc.com2   
  3. 3.  Dulux: Lets Colour sparked conversations in social media from Bangkok to Morocco1. Extract added value in your nameThe original Oxford English Dictionary took 35 years to craft. It is evolving at an unprecedented rate as new linguistic ideasemerge and cross-fertilise via the web. Language is a marker for change and the growth of vocabulary is a primary indicator ofcultural transformation. Arguably, language itself accounts for the humungous leaps in technological and social change we arewitnessing as new verbs like tweet, digg and skype provide rapid translation and instant transmission of new phenomenainto pop culture. New tools stimulate emergence of new behaviours and a new lexicon. The latest round of OED updates evenincluded the emoticon <3 and the acronym LOL.Google has entered the cultural lexicon as the definitive noun for internet search engines and it is also a verb – did you googleit? Steven Pinker, the Harvard academic and author, states that the way we use words is a manifestation of the way we thinkabout and interact with the world. To google is more than to search; it is to search for something on the internet and toconsume that piece of information. Even before its official addition to the OED in June 2006, the American Dialect Societyproclaimed google the most useful word of 2002.At the very heart of many of the digital superbrands like Google is what we call an Intuitive Purpose by which we mean aunique and highly useful reason for being beyond pure functionality. Subsequently the brands denotation becomes the veryencapsulation of its benefit for consumers. To Sky-Plus and Facebook are synonymous with their purpose.And it is not just the tech brands that have engineered such linguistic value. Reckitt Benckiser has brought loaded culturalmeaning to numerous successful FMCG brands – for example, we now regularly Vanish our carpets, and Dettol kitchensurfaces. As an industry we have long put store in brand as verb and it remains just as powerful.2. Create language that stirs reactions Downloaded from warc.com3   
  4. 4.  As cultures merge, blend and morph, linguistic cross-flow brings an expanding global community together. And as informationis exchanged in real time, and content is produced by the second, the right use of language can lead to global viralphenomena.Kolaveri Di, the Tamil-English song officially released in 2011 to promote the Tamil language film 3, went instantly viral. Itbecame the most-searched YouTube video in India and an internet phenomenon across global Indian communities with morethan one million shares on Facebook in less than a week and 39 million views in less than three months. The question oneveryone lips? What is this Kolaveri Di? Ironically it was the impenetrability of the Tamil dialect in question here that triggeredthe wildfire and sold the film.The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign by Euro RSCG New York for Dos Equis beer has become a worldwideinternet meme with diverse people spontaneously exploiting the narrative formula I dont always do X, but when I do, I Y intheir own versions of the ads. Memetic interpretations include The Most Interesting Warcraft Player in the World and a recenthomage from Antonio Banderas in Puss in Boots: evidence that the right language can create a valuable multiplier effectwhich, in the case of Dos Equis, led to a 20% increase in sales in a declining US market.Duluxs Lets Colour is one of our own Euro RSCG London examples of a linguistic catalyst that helped drive a global CSRcoup. This invitation to regenerate your world with colour, neatly and resonantly captures the joy of adding colour to peopleslives. Two hundred thousand litres of paint have now been donated to community painting projects in more than 20 countriesand conversations have been sparked in social media from Bangkok to Morocco. In 2011 the campaign won an inaugural AdsWorth Spreading award from TED, igniting further positive social commentary and corporate PR for AkzoNobel.Would we have seen the same success without the pure punch and evocation of those two little words?3. Get savvy with the word searchResonant language has the power to catapult brands into the hearts and psyche of the audience and, in a context where SEOis of increasing importance, to a well-positioned rank in a search engine. Brand triggers are now competitively ranked,optimised and owned. Never has the choice of words been more important, in an age when search engines bots andalgorithms are the filters to your brand.In the world of the SEO strategy, words have a market value and there is a clear benefit in using smart words when the race tobuy generics can be costly.Faced with Googles search stranglehold, had to look beyond the expensive and generic AdWordmarket to effectively use its marketing budget. Meerkat was visually similar, but a fraction of the cost, and set the direction forthe future of the campaign. And awareness of comparethemarket "propelled from relative obscurity to pole position in itscategory", according to David Penn of Conquest. The rest is the stuff of advertising legend.We took a similar view for VO5 Extreme Style. The latest ad in the VO5 Break the Mould campaign, The PliktisijiteurPageant, saw multiple pieces of shareable multimedia content released over time aimed to achieve quality engagement withan efficient reach. We advised Unilever to avoid chasing the generic AdWord haircare. Instead we turned to theunpronounceable name of the village and created a branded experience with both a distinctive name and a distinctive searchproperty that has so far attracted more than 250,000 unique YouTube viewers. Downloaded from warc.com4   
  5. 5.  And as testament to the value of a brilliant ad campaign talking to a smartly worded SEO strategy, British Gas has optimisedTell Sid among its keywords – all based on the resonance of a once famous 30-year old advertising meme that continues todeliver value to the brand.So back to the 19th Century. The quest for the right word has moved some of the greatest novelists in our history, from Twainto Flaubert (who obsessively crafted each and every page). And 150 years later, that same attention to word craft, and le motjuste , still pays dividends.In this techno-Darwinian, socially conversant, memetic world, only the most smartly worded brands will thrive. Withconversational media at the core of the creative process, the onus is even more firmly on us to find the words capable ofsparking exceptional marketing impact.About the AuthorRebecca Moody is head of planning at Euro RSCG London, she started her career as a planner at Lowe Howard-Spinkmoving on to DFGW and AMV BBDO. She has worked across accounts from Sainsburys to© Copyright Warc 2012Warc Ltd.85 Newman Street, London, United Kingdom, W1T 3EXTel: +44 (0)20 7467 8100, Fax: +(0)20 7467 8101www.warc.comAll rights reserved including database rights. This electronic file is for the personal use of authorised users based at the subscribing companys office location. It may not be reproduced, posted on intranets, extranetsor the internet, e-mailed, archived or shared electronically either within the purchaser’s organisation or externally without express written permission from Warc. Downloaded from warc.com5