The Power of Language
Imagine being lost in a land where the people speak a language that is completely foreign to you. You want to express yourself but nobody you meet can understand your words or ideas. It would be quite stressful, wouldn’t it? Therein lies the power of language; it is the ability to express yourself in ways that influence others and how they interact with you.
Language is one of the main tools available to us as human beings, because through it we express our beliefs and values, and interact with our environment. But basic knowledge of a language is hardly sufficient. In all languages, all it takes is one word said in a different tone of voice or expressed in a certain way to completely change the meaning of what we had originally intended to communicate.
During my time working at JeffreyGroup, I have learned that language is at once a good way to interact with members of the media, who are the main channel through which we help brands reach consumers, but also a boundary that must sometimes be overcome in order to do so with the greatest effectiveness. While there are many steps that can be taken to try to eliminate this barrier, I see two as being of paramount importance.
Know the language of your client and your audience
Although we speak the same language, often the way we communicate with our audience is what separates us from them. It is important to recognize and understand the brand and the industries that we represent. We must use appropriate terminology when referring to them, because sometimes audiences aren’t entirely aware of what the company does that we represent. Example: Talking to ‘millennials’ about dating apps is very simple because many of them already are in contact with such technology and understand the language. However, on other topics, for example topics that a manufacturer of HVAC systems might touch, more care must be taken to ensure that any language we use is compatible with that used by the brand and understood by its clients. Failing to do so puts one in the position of appearing to be a novice on a subject of relevance to the client, which would certainly be an outcome with negative implications.
Communicate a story, not a product
Do we need more brands to tell us about their products? Another announcement saying that the product we are going to consume is better than its competition? I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many consumers these days who think so. More than anything, brands need to communicate a story about their company or product that goes beyond the commercial aspect and helps promote positive and attractive messages to the media, which in turn are disseminated to consumers. The use of anecdotes, metaphors or studies helps us generate content with VALUE.
Keeping all of this in mind, we must be constantly aware of what we say and how we say it. And above all, messages conveyed must align with our objectives and goals. The responsible use of language allows us to open new doors for our partners, clients, and audience.