In a tone of voice workshop I ran several years ago, I tasked the group with using the tone of voice of different celebrities. The funniest one by far was the press release written in the personality of Jamie Oliver. He has such a distinctive way with words, everything’s “pukka”, “rockin”, “outrageous” or “new stylee” in Jamie’s world.
In fact, the reason he shot to fame in the first place was because of his Essex lad personality and ethos of no-stress, delicious dishes to share with friends. His language has always reflected this and has become inseparable from his brand personality, even to the point where the staff in his restaurants are – allegedly - instructed to use, and I quote, “these words when selling our fab specials”. Check out the list here.
As a language lover and branding geek, I love this. Building language lexicons and word banks are something I’ve urged clients of my copywriting services to do for years.
After all, there are only so many words in the English language. It’s all too easy to fall back on the same bland, well-worn phrases that everyone else in your industry uses.
Instead, I recommend looking outside of your industry and drawing inspiration from other disciplines to build a bank of more unusual and interesting words that you can use to help you to stand out. I’ve put together a list of my favourite resources.
7 Ways To Build A Lexicon Of On-Brand Words
1) Take inspiration from your hobbies: Are you into sport? How about using the language of physical challenge and prowess to describe your product or services?
2) Is provenance important to your brand? It’s very common for food brands to sprinkle wording and language from their place of origin throughout their copy to promote their authenticity. However this is something Yorkshire based ISP Plus.net have consciously adopted to build their no-nonsense brand.
3) Do you follow a particular methodology or value experimentation in your business? Words that come from the sciences (or sound as if they do) have natural authority, representing a great body of knowledge and evoking natural laws and principles. Use words such as such as velocity, momentum, galvanise, genesis… the list goes on.
4) How do you personally speak when you get over-excited about your business? Can you encourage a friend to take you out for a drink or two and get into the verbal flow? What words do you naturally use?
5) Circling back to Jamie, who are your favourite TV personalities? Head to YouTube and listen to the words they use, the rhythm and pattern of their speech. Write it down.
6) Try a Google search for “sensory words” (and behold all the surprisingly amazing writing websites still stuck in the 90s).
7) Use a thesaurus: Run words that you feel describe your important selling points through the Visual Thesaurus or the Idiom Dictionary and see what unexpected words and phrases pop out at you.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at more ways to build a lexicon for your brand, as well as giving you useful lists of words you can use to communicate what you do clearly. Sign up on the right and we’ll keep you updated.