Word choice in marketing and advertising is absolutely critical. When advertisers spend millions of dollars each year, you can bet they have tested every word they are going to use. They want their word choices to psychologically lead you to believe their product is the best, that it will change your life. Skilled advertisers can get us to absorb their message unconsciously. They might even package an identical product with different words and phrases to reach a wider segment of the public.
Daryl Benn conducted a study on how advertisers use word choice and catch phrases to sell different, but identical in effectiveness, brands of aspirin. Consider the following:
Brand A: proclaims 100 percent pure, claims nothing is stronger. Benn notes that governmental tests also showed no brand was weaker or less effective than any of the others.
Brand B: advertises "unsurpassed in speed--no other brand works faster." The same governmental tests showed "B" works no faster than any of the others.
Brand C: declares it used an ingredient "that doctors recommend." Governmental tests revealed that "special ingredient" is nothing more than regular aspirin.
The words we use can hurt others and cause tension and resentment. Words can even cause wars. Humans tend to create and use words that hurt or label. Hitler used labeling and name-calling during his rule in Germany. He called the Jews many negative things, including "vermin", "sludge", "garbage", "lice", "sewage", and "insects." Labels also extend far beyond the names people are given, into the way we describe things in a negative light, such as, "broken home," "single-parent family," or "blended family." Whereas we think of theses terms as essentially neutral, the words can carry significant negative weight to those people to whom the terms apply.
As you design your persuasive message, you must consider the emotional impact of each word and phrase. When you want to create emotion, choose words that will trigger feelings. If you want to downplay the event or situation, use an unemotional word. Notice the following words generally have the same definition but carry different emotional weight, for example, calling someone "thrifty" versus "cheap," "traditional" versus "old-fashioned," "extroverted" versus "loud," "careful" versus "cowardly," and "eccentric" versus "strange."
There are many words that are emotionally loaded and represent different values to different people. These words can get people to pay attention and alert them to know what significance the message has for them. It is hard to find a neutral word. Your word choice will paint different pictures for different people because the way we define words is based on our belief systems, our past experiences, and our social roles. The beliefs we hold about a word will dictate our actions and how we respond. For example, some cultures view death as a celebration of life; others view death as a tragedy.
Sometimes, if used improperly, positive words can still lead to a negative response. For this reason, persuaders will often avoid certain words, although generally positive, and instead use words that may still bear positive associations, but are more ambiguous. For example, in the world of politics we hear phrases like "freedom of choice," "fiscal responsibility," or "responsible taxation." When politicians use such generalities, people of differing viewpoints can actually both be appeased. They will fill in the blanks and provide their own definitions.
Words can convey emotional color by how long or short they are. Generally, shorter words are more blunt, direct, harsh, or sharp. Consider words like "kick," "hit," "force," "stop," or "no." Longer words, like "lonely," "depressed," or "painful" are drawn out to evoke colors of melancholy or suffering.
Advertisers know that changing just one word in their ad can dramatically increase the response rate. One advertiser changed the word "repair" to "fix" and saw a 20 percent increase in response.
There are other words advertisers employ, which are known as "weasel words". These words confuse their audience and don’t allow you to put an exact number on the advertiser’s claim. They let you justify and believe what you want. They are called "weasel words" because weasels are notorious for breaking into the chicken coop and sucking out the inside of the eggs without breaking the shell. The eggs look fine but in reality are hollow and empty, just like these words. Watch out for these words:
Do the words you use trigger a positive or negative response in your prospects?
What weasel words to you use and do these words detract from your message?
What is the one word in your presentation that is taking away from your message?
By: Kurt Mortensen
Kurt Mortensen’s trademark is Magnetic Persuasion; you should attract customers, just like a magnet attracts metal filings. Claim your success and learn what only the ultra-prosperous know by going to http://prewealth.com/mistakestoavoid and get my free report "10 Mistakes that Cost You Thousands."