Brands Should Get Consumers To Speak Their Language
For those in the know when it comes to ice cream, “like it,” “love it,” and “gotta have it” aren’t just words that express how much we need something. This is, in fact, the innocently playful but savvy measurement of each cup size at Cold Stone Creamery. So when you decide to be gluttonous with caramel/chocolate swirl loaded with marshmallow and Heath Bar topping, “gotta have it” plucks the crave note perfectly while avoiding the guilt one feels when ordering a huge cup of ice cream.
Coldstone is certainly not the first brand to use distinct lingo to define its products, but guessing from the additional value it provides a brand in the minds of consumers, it won’t be the last. It’s one surefire way to distinguish the brand from the competition by creating valuable equity and a loyal group of brand evangelists. Once consumers become comfortable with your language, they feel a special bond and are eager to share that bond with their friends.
We explored a couple of notable brands that have a language all their own and how they use it to define the space for their customers. In some cases, we noticed the brand language has transcended the brand that created it and lives in pop culture.
So what exactly does creating brand verbiage do for you?
- Stickiness - Become something ubiquitous: 140 characters or less is not just synonymous with “tweeting” on Twitter. That ship sailed years ago. With its passionate user base, a who’s who list of celebs using it and pop culture references in movies, music and TV, tweeting, as a verb is potentially more popular than the firm that created it. Tweeting can mean anything quick and to the point. Tweeting is so intertwined within our society; Webster’s Dictionary has accepted it. Not bad for a company just 6 years old.
- Universal language – Create your own world: No one comes within a furlong of what Starbucks has done in creating a brand language that spans the globe. With over 20,000 stores in 61 countries, they’ve made the Spanish word, “grande” the equivalent of a medium cup of coffee and no one bats an eye about how weird that sounds. But more importantly, as Starbucks has grown to be one of the largest companies in the world, their lingo is one of the key lynchpins that allow a small “tall” cup of Blond Roast in Nigeria to be the same as a tall cup in Niagara Falls.
- Intrinsic value – Language and name can stand for something more. The loyal followers of Zipcar, the largest car share program in world, are affectionately called “Zipsters.” As a company that claims that for every car added to its fleet, 15-20 cars are removed from the road, Zipsters are passionate about being involved with a business that cares not only about its customers but cutting pollution, one less car at a time. In their eyes, a Zipster doesn’t just share cars, they’re saving the world each time they use the service.
It's not rocket science to coin names that represent the size of your product offerings. But the trick is assuring that the words grow into a language and strike a deeper chord your customers use either because it makes them feel like they are contributing to a greater good (Zipcar) or conveys a way of expressing themselves (Twitter). But it goes without saying, once your customers start speaking your language; you’ve got a friend for life.