The meaning of words is subjective and open to change. To call someone “nice” in Middle England was to suggest they lacked intelligence, whereas “silly” was used to describe something as good and innocent.
We also develop our own definitions of particular words as we grow up – using phrases in the same context as our family, friends and dialect-sharing neighbours.
This is what makes language so interesting… but also why it can cause miscommunication. Some words are more open to interpretation than others – and you risk coming across the wrong way if your copywriter isn’t on the same page.
Want to avoid blurred lines in your brief? We’ve outlined five words with fluid definitions to watch out for:
Many clients claim they want their writing to be “punchy” – but few share the same idea of what punchy copy looks like. For some, it’s tight, short and monosyllabic. For others, it’s full of striking and impactful words that hit the reader hard. But there’s also an argument that punchy means quality in as few words as possible.
Everyone’s got their own definition of what it means to be “friendly”. There are people who want copy that sings sunshine and rainbows. Then, there are others who consider that warm and fuzzy writing to be cheesy.
A notoriously tricky term, “cool” is perhaps the most subjective word you will ever find in a copywriting brief. But what’s your verdict? Do you think cool concerns being ahead of the curve? Or do you believe it comes down to confidence with a laidback feel?
If your brand is striving to be bold, you need some big, brawny words to back up your ambitions. But is being “bold” just another way of saying fearless and determined? Or is it more to do with ruffling a few feathers and taking more of a controversial approach that reels readers in?
Energetic writing can packed with effervescent adverbs or put together in staccato-style sentences. There are a wide variety of ways to inject a sense of buzz into copy. You just need to establish what you consider to be energetic so your writer can add the right fuel.
Find your voice with MYC
Don’t let different definitions drag your writing in the wrong direction. Book a brand positioning workshop with our copywriters and build crystal-clear guidelines for how you want to sound.
Get in touch with our team today on 0161 660 9206. You can also drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.