Many of us treat language like air; we use it the way we breathe – without realising that we are making any effort. We also tend to think of language – if we actually ever think about it – as of a tool to communicate and express our ideas, thoughts and feelings. Yet saying that language is just a communication tool would be an understatement equal to the one that Google is just an online search engine.
Language is so much more than that. One of the dozens of functions it can be used for is the “ability” to make things beautiful, i.e. describe them in such a way that they suddenly become attractive and desirable. Take for example a well-written description of food: the moment you set your eyes on words such as succulent, juicy, aromatic or luscious, your mouth begins to water and you instantly want to taste it or just eat anything for that matter. Even if it is very simple and ordinary food, the language makes it much more desirable and delicious (in our minds).
This is because words are “translated” by our brains into pictures making us imagine what we are reading or hearing about. Moreover, words appeal to our senses – this is why, when reading a recipe for example, we may feel we are actually tasting the dish; a well-written book about travel can take us to a particular place and see the architecture of the city, sense the smells of local produce in a village market or admire spectacular views of a coastline.
When the magic happens, i.e. when words start to stimulate our senses, we suddenly crave what we read or hear about. This works particularly well in marketing: a superb description of an everyday product, such as coffee, will make you perceive it as an extraordinary, luxurious product that you instantly want to purchase. Similarly, an excellent website copy will easily persuade a potential client to use the company’s services, even if it is just a car wash.
Yes, a well-crafted piece of writing can do just that. I am being convinced of it every time I read Intelligent Life, a sister title of the Economist , where even an article about weeds (!) was engrossing because the author used such wording and style that those mundane, hardly-ever-noticeable and very often annoying plants appeared as intricate and (almost) intelligent flora.
To conclude, not only does it matter WHAT you write but also HOW you write that makes a difference. The language stimulates our brains to create a particular image, which then enables us to develop an opinion about the described matter. Now, by applying appropriate words, collocations, idioms and syntax we are able to stimulate how a particular thing is perceived.
What does this mean to you?
It means that the language you use in your marketing materials will or will not sell your product or service.
If you run a business, you put your heart and soul into it, so that whatever you do is top quality. Yet, does your website copy, marketing materials, press releases and product descriptions do justice to your products or services? The quality of what you are selling should be reflected in the perfect wording. Your products deserve an impeccable, engrossing and, most importantly, an effective description with carefully selected words. The language that you are using across your marketing materials plays a crucial part in the selling process. Don’t let it disappoint you.