Blog in 09 2016.
Last night, I came home after a long day to find this in my mailbox:
Those three words stopped me in my tracks. In the moment it took to open the envelope, my brain ricocheted between emotions. First came concern: had I forgotten to pay my Time Warner Cable bill? Then, sheer panic: WOULD THEY CUT OFF MY INTERNET? And finally, despair. Whatever it was, it was obviously going to add yet another chore to my growing list of ‘things to do before leaving for California in 24 hours’.
Then I read the letter.
The tone couldn't have been more different from the threatening words on the envelope.
A whole new range of emotions. First I was confused, then angry. I stopped reading by the third 'enjoy'.
To all the Time Warner Cables out there: next time you send out a letter, remember to push the envelope, too. Because it sets the tone for the whole experience.
You might have seen that Specsavers has applied to trademark the word ‘should’ve’. And they’re not the first; Carlsberg managed to trademark the word ‘probably’ (and cunningly got round a ban on alcohol advertising at Euro 2016 by using just that word on billboards).
They’re both words that started off in straplines and have taken on a (carefully managed) life of their own. And they prove that your brand’s words can be what Professor Byron Sharp calls ‘distinctive assets’ , just as much as the visuals. After all, which is more Nike: the swoosh, or ‘Just do it’? They both ooze Nikeness.
The words you use in your straplines, names (not just the brand name) and, of course, your tone of voice all have the potential to be recognisable, distinctive elements of your brand. But most brands don’t think of language methodically enough, or make memorability enough of a factor in the words they choose. That’s why we spend our lives convincing new marketing directors not to ditch really well known straplines, just because their strategy has changed slightly.
So have a look at your brand. How many ‘distinctive linguistic assets’ does it have? (We know, we know: we’d like to help the Professor with his language, too.)