Is Your Brand Wearing Frumpy Jeans?

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March 24, 2021 3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

“Like a good neighbor, ____ ____ is there.”

“We’ll leave the light on for you.”

“I’m lovin’ it.”

“Hungry? Why wait?”

You recognize the brands above for two key reasons: concision and empathy. Concision and empathy are central to any great brand. They replace noise with clarity, and replace cold rhetoric with feeling. The examples above, in addition to being concise, evoke feelings we all share: belonging, comfort, love and hunger.

If you don’t market with concision and empathy, it’s like your brand is wearing frumpy jeans.

Art, not rocket science

Here are five tips to incorporate more empathy and concision into your marketing:

1. Use a lot of second-person pronouns such as “you” and “your”: It’s a safeguard against talking about yourself too much, and it’s a way of inviting people into conversations.

2. Use humor: We all have guilty pleasures. We all blow things out of proportion sometimes. You probably have at least one phobia, one annoying in-law, and one irrational pet peeve. Seeing them in a different light, in exaggerated form, or even seeing them reflected back to you can be a great relief.

Humor is generally empathic. There’s no better proof that you “get” someone than being able to make them laugh.

Like a pair of butt-sculpting jeans, concision and empathy provide you with an enticing, memorable brand image.

Related: 5 Things You Can Do to ‘Humanize’ Your Brand

3. Keep it simple: Don’t expect customers to watch an eight-minute video about your visionary founder. Don’t bludgeon people with a 300-word mission statement. Get to the point. This implicitly shows you recognize people are busy and respect their time.

Related: The Secret to a Strong Branding Message? Focus.

4. Bring customers’ problems to life playfully: We’ve all seen emotionally manipulative marketing, and we’re generally put off by it. But you are in business to solve some problem. You have to name it. In copywriting jargon, you “agitate” the problem. Here’s an example from my own work with Retail Control Systems:

“I like manual data entry.”–Nobody, ever

This is one way to agitate a need without being a jerk. It’s pithy, humorous and on-point, and most retail managers can relate to that.

5. Swear — in moderation: There are more wrong ways to swear than right ways, but studies have shown it works in a lot of situations. For instance, high-trust teams swear more in each other’s presence. It shows camaraderie and authenticity. If you’re really hung-up over something, you’re not “frustrated” — you’re pissed! When things go poorly for your clients because someone flaked out on them, they’re not frustrated — they’re pissed!

Gentle swear words are a good way to show you actually give a crap without alienating people.

Like a pair of butt-sculpting jeans, concision and empathy provide you with an enticing, memorable brand image. Get your brand out of those frumpy jeans.


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