Make a List of the Words That Excite You to Define Your Brand
A simple exercise to make sure your customers see you in the right light
Do certain words vex your vibe, giving you a visceral sense of discomfort?
This morning, while scrolling “The Pause,” an email newsletter from the On Being Project, my eye was drawn to an ad headline.
“We’re hiring a Managing Editor.”
I’m not looking for a full-time job, but I *am* an editor, so I couldn’t help but to want to read further.
We’re searching for a managing editor to execute ….
[cue “wrong answer” buzzer sound]
I stopped reading right there, suddenly knowing, in a visceral way, that it was not the right job for me, and I was not the right person for it.
And it was all because of one word: execute
Don’t get me wrong; execute is a fine word.
But I know that today, I’d never work for a company that wanted me to “execute.”
These days, the word turns me off, big time.
I think of cube dwellers and 9 to 5'ers — people groups I left 20 years ago.
I remember bleary eyes and having dinner way too late in the day.
I recall, with distaste, long-ass meetings and uncomfortable shoes.
In my mind, people who “execute” also synergize across silos and seek paradigm shifts across platforms.
They want to be thought leaders, space creators, high-powered influencers, movers and shakers.
And if that’s you — great!
It was me, too, once upon a time.
I totally respect people for whom words like “execute” carry a sizzle.
I’ll have coffee; you enjoy your tea.
Not better. Just different.
Still, my recoil at the word “execute” raised another interesting thought, one that led to this post.
I wondered …
If “Execute” Turns Me Off, What Words Turn Me On?
Creating a list of turn-on words came quickly and easily.
Those words were not me 20 years ago when I power-walked my way around the office in heels!
They’re me now, though.
I sound like a hippie-dippie!
I shouldn’t be surprised; I grew up in the 70’s, when there were still a whole lot of hippies around.
And guess what?
Here’s the real shocker: I do not use those turn-on words in my marketing content!
But shouldn’t I?
What if I did?
If I were to use turn-on words like spirit, peace, and zen in my marketing content, I would attract people who, like me, dug those words as well.
In some cases, opposites attract.
In this case, like attracts like!
What Words Carry Turn-On Energy That Attracts You?
What words should you be using to define your brand and in your marketing copy to attract like-minded souls?
Here’s a small exercise to help you figure it out.
Step 1. Out with the old words
First, review your existing marketing materials — website, blog posts, landing pages, email messages.
Are there words there that turn you off or make you cringe? Words you’d like to excise from your work and life?
Jot them down; you’ll want to remove them or replace them with words that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Step 2. In with the new words
Pause for a moment.
Deep breath in… breath out.
Now, pull your attention in close so that it’s alert inside you.
And think of words that turn you on.
Words you wish you had more of in your life.
Jot them down.
THOSE are the words you’ll want to use in your copy.
Oh, and a heads up …
Just so you know, most copywriters and branding folks will tell you to use words that turn on your ideal customers.
“Your ideal customers don’t care about you,” they’ll say. “They care only about themselves.”
And you certainly CAN use words that turn on your ideal customers, but do so in addition to the words that turn YOU on.
If you restrict yourself to words that turn on only your ideal customers, and if those words turn you OFF, then perhaps your ideal customers are not who you think they are.
Case in point: I did the old/new exercise as part of creating this post.
For instance, zen and peace are two of my YES, turn-on words, and execute and thought leadership are NO, turn-off words.
Now, look at the big, bold text on my home page: Marketing content for thought leaders and entrepreneurs.
Guess it’s time for a change, because “thought leadership” is one of my turn-off words.
Yes, I would still work with people who want to be known as thought leaders, but they need to be thought leaders in a space and for an audience that meshes with and is attracted to today’s language of Renae.
I mean, yeah… I’m here to serve people and earn a living.
But I also want to LOVE doing it.
If I have to take on projects that make me cringe inside, then I won’t have a business.
I’ll have a J.O.B.
Today, as you go about your day, reading and taking in the scenery, notice your reaction to different words.
See what makes you hot… and cold.
And adjust your marketing content accordingly.
Soon enough, a new kind of audience may start to show up at your door.
When that happens, open the door, and let them in.