A few weeks ago, we discussed why we business owners should develop a unique voice to communicate our brand to customers. Voice allows us to differentiate ourselves from others. It allows us to showcase our personality while communicating about our services or products.
Sometimes, when business owners create the voice of their brand, they select words that hone in on their service’s or product’s features. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing so. What is wrong is when business owners rely on empty words to try to make themselves stand out.
In a recent article, Curtis Sparrer explains why business “buzzwords” like “cutting-edge” and “industry-leading” can kill a brand. Simply put, these words are overused to the extent that they mean nothing. Consider the word “innovative,” for instance. Which brands can genuinely claim that description? Apple, perhaps, but who else?
High-brow rhetoric–such phrasing as “fostering an environment” or “evoking the standards of”–also can kill a brand. Not only can this phrasing come off as showy, if not a bit pretentious, but it can also leave customers scratching their heads as they try to figure out what the marketers were saying. As Tricia Heinrich, whom Sparrer interviewed, says, “[grandiose language] is…empty and imprecise. Ideally, marketing materials [should] spell out in clear and specific language how a product or service solves customers’ problems.”
I couldn’t agree more. Simple writing conveys succinctness, clarity, and efficiency. It is no less important or less influential. Quite the contrary. Simple wording stands out. It makes a statement, one that is believable and trustworthy. Anything else distracts from what is really important and becomes what Maurice Scharton and Janice Neuleib, authors of Things Your Grammar Never Told You, call the “verbal equivalent to warts.” That’s not something any of us should want to have connected to our brand!
In the end, the right approach to branding and content writing is reaching customers in the clearest and most authentic way. Set empty words and meaningless phrases aside.