What you say is what your customers see (and feel, and taste, and touch).


Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your customers to think more highly of your products?

Maybe get them to pay more for them?

How could you do that?

How could you get them to change their perception of your products?

You could spend a few years in R&D.

You could spend millions on new packaging.

What if you didn’t have all that time and all that money?

Well, you could pay more attention to the language you’re using.

Consider this.

Imagine we’re grocers, you and I.

You say ‘potato’.

I say ‘King Edward potato’.

You say Vanilla.

I say Madagascan Vanilla.

We might be selling the same stuff, but my customers will be happier.

And they’ll be more loyal to me.

Even if I charged more for them.

That’s because my products’ language creates more value for them (even though my products are identical to yours).

Brian Wansink tested and proved this, by changing the names of dishes in a restaurant menu.

He found customers preferred items with more descriptive names, compared to identical items with less descriptive names.

In fact, descriptive names increased sales by 27%.

Customers also rated the food and restaurant more highly, and were more likely to come back.

Similarly, it turns out that you can encourage people to eat more vegetables using a similar technique.

‘Sweet sizzlin’ green beans’ are 25% more popular than ‘green beans’.

But it’s not as simple as just adding words.

You have to understand the associations those words have in the customer’s mind.

Take ‘eco-friendly’, for example.

It’s a good thing, right?


Take your grocer’s apron off, and put on your suit.

Now you’re the CMO of Unilever.

You might think that the money you spent developing an eco-friendly version of your washing powder is something you should shout about.

But it turns out that customers assume that making something eco-friendly makes it less effective.

Recent research by Richard Shotton suggests they would pay less for it, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary.

And, it turns out, it’s the same with the vegetables I mentioned earlier: ‘light ‘n’ low carb green beans’ were even less popular than ‘green beans.

Brand language isn’t what’s said or written. It’s what goes on deep inside your customer’s mind.

If you’d like to spend millions on new packaging, good luck.

If you’d rather spend marginally less on your language, we love to talk. And think.

How about a chat over a single estate, Sea Island coffee?