THE POWER OF WORDS

Branding is about creating the future. And the tool we use to create that future is language. Yes, powerful words!

Are your words leading to feeble outcomes?

Branding is about creating the future. You begin with the end in mind by creating an ideal state, which is then a blueprint for what you need to do to get there. And the tool we use to create that future is language. Yes, words!

How many times have you seen a list of company values include words such as ‘innovative’; ‘passionate’; ‘integrity’; ‘quality’; ‘excellence’? Not that these words are necessarily wrong. But they are so commonplace that they have lost their meaning, their power, their force. They have become corporate clichés that tick the boxes. An impoverished vocabulary that leads to feeble outcomes.

An average person’s working vocabulary consists of between 20,000 to 35,000 words.

How about your everyday vocabulary? Are the words you use closing your options and choices, or are they opening doors and creating amazing possibilities for your self and your life?

There are two ways of looking at the words you use. There’s the number [quantity] or words you use, and then there’s the kind [quality] of words you use.

Linguists report that an average person’s working vocabulary consists of between 20,000 to 35,000 words. Conservatively estimating English to contain 500,000 words, that means we regularly use between 6% of the language that’s available to us.

Okay, so we all have a somewhat limited vocabulary. But adding a few thousand more new words to your vocabulary isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference. It will just make you look like a smart arse.

Change your habitual vocabulary

My point is that having a rich and powerful vocabulary doesn’t require that you use a whole lot of new, fancy words that nobody knows the meaning of. It’s the kind of words you choose to use that matter. I’m talking here about language that everyone knows and understands, and yet are rarely used because your vocabulary has become a thing of habit, and you don’t even think about choosing or using different language.

Begin first by changing your habitual vocabulary for words that convey a more distinct, rich emotional intensity. Consider company values. Swap “Excellence” for “Aim high”. “Innovation” for “Think different” (ala Apple Mac). “Teamwork” for “Together we ride”. “Responsibility” for “Own it”. “Leadership” for “Go Boldly”. “Perseverance” for “Never quit”.

Language is the means by which we communicate our intentions and make things happen. Using rich, positive emotionally charged words that are relatable and drive action in your Brand Blueprint will transform your people and culture, and the world around you.

Give it a go!

Richard Sauerman
Richard Sauerman
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