It’s no surprise that the days of ruling a category with a good product and a great tagline have come to an end. Today’s highly educated consumer (B2C or B2B) requires a deeper connection, social proof and thought leadership before they give you the honor of calling them a customer.

In order to capture the required cognitive real estate of today’s highly educated B2C or B2B consumer, it is important to create a brand vocabulary that defines you as a category of one and resonates with your audience. Here are 5 tips that will help you add arrows to your content marketing quiver and develop a brand vocabulary that will set you apart and ingratiate you with your audiences.

1. Talk to Your Lead Users

Identify and talk to your Lead Users and understand how and why they describe your company and products. Lead Users are your customers that are pushing the envelope with your products and services. They’re demanding and trying to solve for problems that are usually a year or two ahead of the mass market. Many companies, like 3M, have lead user programs and leverage them to drive product innovation. There is equal, if not greater value, in leveraging lead users to build a brand vocabulary that sets you apart from the competition and aligns you with the thought leading customers in your category.

2. Look to Your Left and Right

There are a lot of reasons why it is important to keep your finger on the pulse of market leaders in adjacent product categories. Category convergence is occurring at an accelerated pace and you might find these companies as new competitors. The other thing you should do is evaluate the vocabulary of the market leaders in adjacent categories and understand what they’re doing to set themselves apart from their direct competition. These companies frequently define their categories and products much differently than their competitors. When developing your brand vocabulary, look for the intersection of other categories to help define unique and relevant opportunities to describe your brand.

3. Evaluate Analyst Speak

Analysts typically don’t make markets but in several instances industry analysts help put guardrails around a category and define the components of the category in unique ways. The most important step to take is to monitor the emerging terms that they utilize to describe your category, adjacent categories and the products and services. Then you’ll want to make sure that you’re not deficient of these key descriptors in your current vocabulary. You’ll also want to compile a list of the terms for further evaluation.

4. Keyword Analysis

While relevant differentiation is critical to your success, straying too far from the core category and keywords that define the category can have negative ramifications on digital asset and search performance. Most marketers have a good grasp of the keywords that perform well for search and conversion. In order for your brand vocabulary to resonate and perform well in the near term you’ll want to compile a list of the best performing terms for consideration.

5. Google Trends

Market trends are critical to the success of any product or service. Therefore, it is important to get a gauge on the potential strength of a term to help align your vocabulary with key market trends. Therefore, when you’ve compiled a list from the first four steps, you should utilize a tool like Google Trends to test and see how much strength a term has as well as identify competitors that have had specific events/announcements with each term. Google Trends makes it easy to create a trend score for each term in your brand vocabulary consideration set.

Lastly, you need to take your vocabulary building one step further by synthesizing the data from the five tips listed above, compile them into a list and develop variations and combinations of the terms. Then you could use a tool like Xmind to develop a mind map and test the options with your key targets. You’ll also want to utilize the mind map to visually see how your vocabulary stacks-up against your competitors. Once you’ve finalized your new brand vocabulary it is important to incorporate it into your content strategy, brand stories and condition the vocabulary in your digital assets for SEO.

Developing and maintaining a brand vocabulary that differentiates you from the competitive set and resonates with your key targets is not a static process. With the speed of change and competition in most categories, it is important to incorporate this process into your marketing planning on a quarterly or biannual basis.

For help developing your brand vocabulary contact us.

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