Another day, another article.
I just found this article in the Guardian, which basically describes how management tactics and principles evolved over time.
I didn’t care too much about the management specifics, but for us as marketers and persuaders, there’s something incredibly interesting:
Part of it talks about the effects of language on the business world. Specifically what happened when “business language” first became it’s own thing.
As marketers, we avoid “corporate speak” at all cost (in 95% of cases):
A sales letter which begins with “Dear consumer…” couldn’t convert a Mississippi truck driver to Christianity.
Much less convert unsuspecting readers into buyers.
But human communication doesn’t persist unless it’s effective:
A person nobody wants to talk to either ends up not talking or changing their ways of communicating.
A bad ad doesn’t run long.
In short: Bad communication perishes.
But Business Bullshit has been around for a long time.
So why do we avoid “corporate speak”? Judging by the “Lindy Effect”, it’s effective communication.
The reason are what I call Language Ecosystems.
Let me explain.
A Language Ecosystem is a set of words, tones and other linguistic details which change depending on the people around you, the place you’re in, etc.
You might call your spouse “honey”, but not your boss.
If you’re a girl, your voice will probably be higher if you talk to someone you’re attracted to.
And you will talk about Key Performance Indicators with a co-worker, but you won’t bore your kids with KPIs.
Right now, you’re probably thinking the reasons are super-obvious, but here’s the kicker:
The reason we don’t use Corporate Speak in our copy is because we don’t want to bring our prospect in to the “office” Language Ecosystem.
We associate places and emotions with terms.
So if I talked about “Muscle Acquisition” in a fitness VSL, I’d be in the wrong Language Ecosystem and lose attention.
The good thing is: Language Ecosystems are fairly exclusive. Phrases like “Beating The Control” are known only to DR marketing professionals. If we hear anybody say it, we know they’re “one of us”.
They’re in the in-group.
And the exclusivity is why Language Ecosystems are useful for us as marketers.
If you can create words or phrases for your audience to use, they’ll have a hard time putting those ideas in other terms—as long as they didn’t know the concepts before.
So they won’t have an option but buy from you when they need the thing—even though it’s available elsewhere with a different name.
It seems devious, and it can be. This is the exact tactic Big Brother uses in George Orwell’s 1984. I will make you eat a pound of toenails if you use this to sell a shitty product.
You see a lot of marketers using this. Most high-level marketers use Language Ecosystems to their advantage.
I just used it on you. If you weren’t familiar with the concept before, a “Language Ecosystem” is the only way you can describe the associations of terms with environments and people…
…which is a term I came up with because I’m too lazy to research the actual term.
And if you want to learn more, the only way is to contact me. Cause you have no other words for it. Muahahahahah.