Major eyeball rolling happens whenever I hear or read, “We have yummy yarn!” and I just shut down. I don’t eat yarn thank you very much. Or, “This soap is just yummy!” Really? I don’t include soap in my diet either.
How about “She is a yummy mummy,” or “Their skin looks yummy,” or “Paul is so hot in his black Suit #yummy!”
Really? It sounds as though we’re a bunch of two year olds talking about sex. Does that sound appropriate to you?
Gah! Don’t make me shut down.
Know Your Customer: Using Age Appropriate Adjectives
If your customer is a toddler, than yummy is perfectly acceptable. If not, then you’ve just sabotaged your brand.
You’ve worked long and hard on your art and it should be exalted to the pedestal in the museum that it deserves, not in the cereal aisle in your grocery store. Wanna see the excitement leave my eyes? Then say to me,
“The color palette of their home was a yummy mixture of beige, gray, taupe, and browns. And since red was a prominent color in their artwork, it was important to include a touch of it as well, as part of the color scheme.”
Ack!! Stop! (insert vinyl record needle swip here). Here’s me shutting down.
When you treat your art this way, your customers will, too. If you’re trying to sell me a high-dollar commission, please for the love of all things creative, do not use the age inappropriate word to persuade me. If you’re committed to that word because you love it, then to that I say, “Good luck winning that sale.” By using age inappropriate words to convey your story, you’ve just quietly reduced your authority in their eyes.
TIP: The art is for your customer and her lifestyle, not yours.
Setting Age Appropriate Expectations
Growing up, I learned that everything is age appropriate. Age appropriate activities set expectations for both the person engaging in that activity and the activity itself. Proms are a good example: Only Juniors and Seniors were eligible guests and that exclusivity was something most of us looked forward to attending. Same with college. If you were a brainac (I was not) you had the option of attending early while most of us had to wait until we graduated from high school at around the age of 18. I wasn’t able to get my ears pierced until I was 14. End of story. There wasn’t any whining about how mommy wouldn’t let me do this or do that, it was clearly understood that when I was of a certain age, I was granted age appropriate rewards. This ranged from single dating at 16, the type of cologne we spritzed, to the clothes we wore.
Inappropriate Begets Confusion
Now that I’m an adult, I observe all kinds rampant acts of blatant disregard for age appropriate or brand activities. (Call me if you want to hear me rant on dressing little girls like adults or why you shouldn’t play with your logo.) If we don’t set expectations for our children or our customers, how are they to know the boundaries? Appropriate expectations begets respect and with clear guidelines (found in your branding workbook), your customers will understand your position through your daily activities and written copy.
How Old Is Your Customer?
My customers are adults who seek respite from family chaos and want a bit of hedonism in their life. They collect art, attend live performances at their local theater, and seek out new ways to enjoy life. They love basking in exotic waters and feeling forbidden items. When treated well, organic materials like silk and real leather still rank as an affluent material and they gravitate toward it like moths to flame. My customers look at me momentarily as they approach the forbidden butterscotch leather tech bag to get the ‘touching’ approval -I nod- and they give me the most ostentatious ‘O’ face known to pleasure providers.
Is your customer this similar?
If you want to reach your customer on a visceral level, revisit the thesaurus to adopt words that they use. The words don’t have to be clever -your customers will see right through that- but the adjectives do need to relate to the vernacular they would use talking to their friends. How would they describe the work they’ve just purchased from you?
So here is my love letter to you:
Please talk age appropriate adjectives to your customers. If your customer is a toddler, than yummy is perfectly acceptable. If not, then you’ve just sabotaged your brand. Cultivate a new and separate dictionary for your customers and add to it everyday. Please leave “Yummy” on your childs plate, don’t introduce it into your customer’s bedroom -she’ll never forgive you for it.
With Age Appropriate Thanks,
One book I highly recommend to reach your customer’s intimate palate: A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman. Ackerman contends that “One of the real tests of writers is how well they write about smells. If they can’t describe the scent of sanctity in a church, can you trust them to describe the suburbs of the heart?”
Professionally, I equate my tests with taste. Since we’re evaluated on taste, it makes sense to use taste as a basis to relate to my customers. You’ve heard, “She’s got great taste,” “She’s a tastemaker, ” or “They’ve got their taste all in their…” You get the idea. Attributing descriptors like sweet, savory, bitter, and salty to hedonistic pleasures will heighten the gratification of my customer.
Need a little help elevating your age-appropriate adjectives? Here’s a quick list of synonyms to reach your customers tastes:
ambrosial, appetizing, choice, delicious, delectable, delightful, divine, enticing, fit for a king, good, heavenly, juicy, luscious, mouthwatering, nectarous, out of this world, palatable, piquant, pleasant, rich, sapid, savory, scrumptious, spicy, succulent, super, sweet, tasteful, tasty, tempting, toothsome, (click for more delicious adjectives)
So, how will you heighten your customer bliss?
Here’s to Cultivating Your Creative Independence