A friend of mine once described copywriting as ‘facts, with adjectives thrown in’.
I could – and did – rant about the complexities of good marketing, the value of research, calls to action, tone of voice, creative engagement, etc, etc.
But it is true that the adjectives you use in your marketing can be important – and should therefore be chosen with care.
Sadly, however, many seem to adopt the approach outlined by my friend above, simply plucking any old adjectives out of the dictionary and tossing them at random into the mix. Take the opening sentence of a marketing leaflet I read recently, by an organisation that shall here be referred to as Nameless & Co, which opened as follows:
As an organisation, we are distinctive, coherent and vibrant.
Tell me, what exactly does that mean?
True, if they'd have followed up by explaining exactly how they were "distinctive" compared to their rivals, how and why being "coherent" is particularly pertinent to their line of work, and in what positive way they could be considered "vibrant", Nameless & Co might have clambered out of this marketing pitfall unscathed.
But they didn't. The sentence, in all its magnificent meaninglessness, stood alone. Even worse, none of the adjectives, when analysed, seemed to have any real relevance to the organisation’s products or services.
They might as well have written the following:
As an organisation, we are vaguely positive, but we don't really know how.
Think before you describe.
Aim to pick adjectives with clear, specific meaning, which succinctly highlight your most positive benefits and set you apart from your competitors.
And do remember that it's not enough to describe - you also need to demonstrate. Be prepared to elaborate in order to explain exactly how you are “unique” or “creative” or “friendly” – and, most importantly, why this should matter to your customers.
Because the truth is, unless you’re Tony the Tiger, nobody’s going to care that you’re “Grrrrrrrrrrrreat!”