Differentiate yourself and generate attention by owning your vocabulary
A high security key company, Mul-T-Lock (a client of ours), had a predominantly trade-oriented business model. In their dealings with their locksmith customers, industry jargon was an accepted vocabulary.
As Mul-T-Lock saw an opportunity to improve its awareness with consumers, it would need to more clearly position itself as a retail marketer. The jargon used with technically minded locksmiths was not going to succeed with consumers. Consumers would be confused at best, and alienated at worst.
A new vocabulary had to be developed so that technical jargon could be translated into consumer-friendly terms. The vocabulary also had to be easy to remember so that it stuck in a consumers’ mind.
Here are two examples.
Comparing a high security key (picture) with a regular key (picture) is going to help consumers better understand the high security key advantages. The challenge was determining what to call the keys other than generically, “key.” Mul-T-Lock’s key was going to be called a “high security key.” Yet, other than generic “key”, which describes all keys, there was no word for keys that unlock offices and homes. Since these keys look like the edge of a saw blade, we coined “sawtooth key” to help distinguish the two types of keys.
Home and business owners are concerned about how easy it is to copy a house or office key (by valets, nannies, employees, etc). They’re concerned because do-it-yourself hardware stores create copies of keys as quickly and easily as a photocopier copies a document—and with as much discrimination. Our term, “key photo-counterfeiting”, creatively combines this metaphor with their security concern. The related term “key fraud” is a new way to look at the act of illegitimately copying someone’s key. You can check it out at www.mul-t-lock.ca
The wonderful thing is that locksmiths have very quickly begun to adopt the new vocabulary and approach. They have said that it is easier to use and helps to favourably position high security products.
A “sticky” word has power when it is uniquely associated with your brand. To differentiate yourself from your competitors and to generate awareness, deliberately plan to develop a unique vocabulary. Of course, adoption won’t happen on its own. A Communication Plan is required to generate adoption of the vocabulary throughout organizations, dealer networks, retail channels and consumers.
Some points to consider when developing vocabulary:
- Use metaphors as a starting point. Brainstorm a lot.
- Think laterally: begin with a list of the qualities of the product or service. Then Google search for images based on those qualities and see where the image results take you.
- Be novel, but not crazy. People still need to understand you.
- Be the buyer. Think from their perspective.
- Always check for previous trademarks.