Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Words as Symbols in Your Marketing Content

Another Fourth of July has come and gone. It's hard to imagine a more cut-and-dried holiday, right? Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. What could be more straightforward than that?

Ah, but wait a minute. The national holiday we recognize as the Fourth of July stirs up a wide range of responses, depending on who you ask. Some people take the literal approach by envisioning the Founding Fathers famously adding their signatures to the document in question. Many folks mark it as the birthday of the United States of America, with all the patriotic thoughts that accompany that idea. But what else might the Fourth of July mean to people in this day and age? If you're a fireworks fan, it may be a glorious opportunity to blow stuff up. If you're an animal lover, you may bite your nails over images of your beloved pets cowering under the bed as those fireworks go off. If you work like a dog the rest of the year, you may see the Fourth of July holiday as a lifesaving day of rest.

See what I mean? The same simple phrase -- "Fourth of July" -- can trigger different (and equally legitimate) images or feelings for different segments of the population. I'm picking on the Fourth for reasons of topicality, but I could just as easily point to any other concept, word, or phrase known to humankind. What about a loaf of freshly-baked bread? If you're a foodie, the very idea could fill you with gleeful anticipation or send you running to the store to purchase a bread maker. On the other hand, if you suffer from a severe gluten sensitivity, you may associate that "lovely" image with recollections of digestive agony.

Words are tools, and tools often have multiple uses, with no inherently right or wrong applications. However, when you're creating marketing content for your business, you must think about how your specific tool choices will impact your target audience. A word that might have powerful, energizing, or soothing effects on you might have a totally different effect on the people to whom you're directing your marketing content.

How do you tiptoe your way through this tricky landscape? It all starts with a detailed knowledge of your ideal buyer, which means building a buyer persona -- a fictional profile based on all the demographics, survey responses, and other customer data you can gather. The next step most likely involves engaging a professional copywriter who understands how to string together just the right symbols to produce the intended emotional responses for that ideal buyer. If you don't have such a professional on staff, contact a freelance copywriter and have a discussion about how to put the symbolic power of words to the strongest possible use in your marketing. After all, if words are tools, you might as well hire a true wordsmith!