Hear my word

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Regular readers of these scratchings will be well familiar to the back teeth with me banging on about the need for businesses to pepper their marketing communication copy with stand-out words.

I don’t care if you’re the leading blah blah blah in the flugalbinder industry worldwide. I don’t care if your customers have more money than god or more power than Beyonce. Your customers are B-O-R-E-D with the same old nouns, verbs, adjectives, idioms and metaphors to describe how great thou art.

Alternatives are needed and there are endless examples of the types of words that will pack some punch into your copy without causing your management team or investors to call for the smelling salts.

And here's one to get the ball rolling:


Now, admittedly, the definitions of this particular word don’t immediately jump out and implore you to use it.

In fact, you are possibly somewhat underwhelmed by this example of how to better your copy. Then again, the words synchronise, synergise, loop, takeaway, flexibility, effective, efficient, momentum, coordination and key don’t exactly scream BRILLIANT either but that doesn’t stop nearly every blue chip organisation scattering them about their marcoms like hundreds and thousands on fairy bread

The thing is; that’s exactly my point. You don’t need to throw in terms that are complicated, overly intellectualised or offensive to spark a second thought from your intended audience. Not for one second do I urge you to announce that your company or products are 'shit hot' or claim that your customers are 'off their tits with excitement' over your products (unless of course you feel a significantly large segment of your market would appreciate those terms).

Consider for a moment a number of different ways today's word du jour is incorporated into the vernacular:

“Let’s shred this mountain til our boards snap, brah.”

“Shredding isn’t just about how many notes you can squeeze into a bar of music – it’s about pushing boundaries and exploring the great guitar unknown – although, a bit of sheer, unadulterated fret-burning speed sure doesn’t hurt either.”

“Dude must’ve lift and run all day. He is shredded.”

“This is the method of cutting food into thin slices or pieces using a sharp knife, food processor or grater. Alternatively, you should shred cooked meat by pulling apart into strips using forks.”

"The company's officials are monitoring staff behaviour, cracking down on phone and social media use and have ordered all documents - even scraps - to be shredded every night."

“Well dear good lady, if you had but a shred of self-respect you would remain here not a moment more.”

So many different uses, but what they all have in common is 'shred' is used to denote something powerful yet easy to understand, strong and exciting, evocative yet positive. 

Not exactly bad connotations to be associated with a brand if you you don't mind.

Our flugalbinders are made to last, they pay for themselves within two years and will shred your outgoing costs, rocket your productivity levels and make you a lot of friends in the process.

Look, I know this isn’t a fully Oprah-induced a-ha moment. Shredding aint gonna change your life or even necessarily (*deep breath*) boost your bottom line.

But it’s an example of a word or the type of word that is low risk that you can drop into some web, brochure, email, Facebook, blog or by-lined article that might wake up a reader. There are squillions of words in the dictionary and it drives me mad that the majority of companies feel it too risky to stray beyond the few that are used relentlessly in business. 

A potential customer that is looking for something akin to your flugalbinder widget 2.0 and researching everything like it on the market is praying for an excuse to yell Eureka! and a sign that they have found what they are looking for. If they enjoy the wordage on your website/packaging/whatever, detect some personality in your brand, and feel even slightly compelled to read on and find out more because your marketing guff doesn’t read like everyone else’s, shredding is totally worth it.

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