Saturday, April 14, 2018

Using Lexicon to Build Brand Mystique

Some activities have their own lexicon, as do some brands. When I was growing up, I fished for muskies, walleye, perch and bass with my family. We took an annual two week vacation at Black Lake and spent much of our time fishing. Later in life, I took up fly fishing. In regular fishing, people sometimes use bobbers to indicate when a fish strikes. In fly fishing, these floating devices are called indicators. And in fly fishing, the study of etymology is critical. An attractor is an impressionistic fly pattern tied with certain fish-enticing characteristics. And one must know the meaning of caddis, callibaetis, chironomid, comparadun and Czech nymphing - and that is just a very small example of fly fishing terms beginning with the letter C.  Clearly fly fishing is more high-brow than bass fishing. 

Sailing has its own terms too. A sailor must know the difference between port and starboard. And one must know the difference between a close reach, a beam reach and a broad reach. It is really important to know the difference between tacking and jibing. And there are lots of terms for boat parts - i.e. halyards, a boom vang, a topping lift, stanchions and a windlass. 

And consider some surfing terms - focusing on just the terms beginning with C again - carving, charging, cheater five, choka, chowder, clidro, closeout, clucked, cranking, cripples and cutback. 

These terms seem to create a shared secret language or lexicon. It is a way to talk with precision about the essence and art of your activity. And it lets you know that the other person is part of your club. 

Brands also create their own lexicon. Consider Starbucks with its short, tall, grande, venti and trenta drink sizes. And how about skinny drinks and leaving room? Starbucks also introduced frappuccinos and macchiatos, terms people had not heard of related to the Maxwell House, Folgers or Sanka coffee brands. 

And consider Harley-Davidson related terms - ape hangers, bobber or bobtail, blockhead and chopper. And how about the Duo-Glide, Dyna Glide, Electra Glide, Hydra Glide, Super Glide, Tour Glide and Wide Glide, which are all Harley-Davidson registered terms?

And of course Apple has iMacs, iOS, iPhone, iPad, iPod, iTunes, iBooks, iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD.

Brand-specific lexicon helps people feel the bond of a shared language. It can lead to the sense of being an insider and even to a cult-like emotional connection to the brand. Consider what creating a brand-specific lexicon might do for your brand. 


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