Why Goldman is backing language with $30million

How much is language worth to your brand?

What if you could get 5% more potential customers to listen to you every time you say something?

What about 10%? 15%? 75%?

Better still, what if you could get 5% more people to act on what you’re saying, just by changing what you say?

What about 10%? 15%? 75%?

Great brand language can do this, and a lot more.

Don’t just take our word for it. Goldman Sachs agrees. So does Bain Capital. Oh, and Starvest Partners. And American Express Ventures. And did we mention there are some guys from Citi, too?

Recently, they’ve all put their money where our mouth is.

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They’ve invested $30million between them into series C funding for a language startup, because they know that language changes not just thought, but also behaviour.

The startup in question, Persado, uses natural language processing. Natural language processing allows computers to understand how humans use language in the real world, rather than in a lab. It’s been around a while. But Persado also uses machine learning: give it a bag of language (or a dataset, as I think we should call it) and the software progressively teaches itself how to be better at generating language. That’s also fairly standard.

What makes Persado so attractive is that it generates language based on the emotions it wants to provoke. In effect, it automates copywriting.

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It’s an exciting approach, although, as with any automated machine learning platform, the system can only change what it can measure. So, if you want to increase your click-through rate, then fine. But if you want to incorporate soft values or manage the long-term relationship between your brand and your customers, you’ll still need human intelligence.

So as writers, we’re not worried yet. In fact, we’re delighted. The low-value, low-pay, grunt work of writing (12 different Sj: lines for an email campaign, 5 ways to beach-ready abs) is being taken away.

What we’ll be left with is the magic of language. That creative leap that no one could have predicted.

It’s what we strive for every day. We do it by looking back at the inimitable Bill Bernbach. We do it by reading the Economist campaign again and again. We do it by listening in to conversations. But most of all, we do it by practice, practice, practice.

So, not so different from how the machines do it really.

It’s all proof that the magic and mechanics of language is enormously valuable to companies of all shapes and sizes.

So, thank you and congratulations to Persado, for helping the world to wake up to the magic and mechanics of language.

If you’re on the same journey as us and wonder where a creative leap in your brand’s language could take your brand positioning, bring your corporate identity to life or produce inspiring brand guidelines, email Chris.