7 Words to Build Your Tribe

June 28, 2016


As I stood in line, anxiously shifting my weight, crossing my arms impatiently and knowing with complete certainty that my caffeine hunt was sure to put me behind schedule, it suddenly dawned on me; Starbucks had me totally whipped. Why was I going out of my way when more convenient options existed in abundance? Simple. In the coffee-consuming corner of my psyche, somehow Starbucks had become synonymous with an experience of membership, lifestyle, and luxury that I was willing, neigh...EAGER to buy into. Well, give me an iced latte and call me converted. So how can we mimic this same brand loyalty with our clientele? By understanding a very straightforward principle: People respond to feelings of belonging. We all want to be part of a tribe, a culture, a company that says something about who we are. Here are seven words you can use to duplicate the Starbucks effect without spending six figures on your marketing plan:


1) "You"
Why it Matters:  By using language that brings your audience into focus, you turn an attempt to sell something into a two way conversation that makes your subject feel seen and engaged. 

Example: "Stop by this Saturday to claim a free ice cream sample." vs "Stop by this Saturday to claim your free ice cream sample, you've earned it."


2) "We"

Why it Matters: Using "we","our" and "us" instead of "me", "I" and "my" creates inclusion and positions you and your client firmly on the same team.

Example: "I'd love to set up a time to meet and discuss how I can help." vs "Let's set up a time to sit down together so we can discuss your needs."


3) "Partner"

Why it Matters: This establishes your clientele as an equal and communicates a level of mutual respect that helps you establish trust and loyalty.

Example: "We appreciate the opportunity to earn your business." vs "We appreciate the opportunity to partner in business with you."


4) "Because"

Why it Matters: Put simply, people like to know the "why" of things. Giving your client a reason to invest fosters motivation and ensures your message is clear.

Example: "Try our bold, head-turning lipstick hues." vs "Try our bold, head-turning lipstick hues. Because a bold you is a beautiful you."


5) "And"

Why it Matters: Replacing opposition words like "but" or timeline words like "while" with "and" reframes the same idea in positive language and gives your client the impression of receiving an extra bonus, and who doesn't love that?

Example: "With our fully online program, you can learn a language while in your PJ's" vs "With our fully online program, you can learn a language and rock your PJs. Score."


6) "Value"

Why it Matters: Using "value" instead of "price" communicates a standard that your time, product and services are worth more than a just dollar figure and will attract customers invested in quality over cost. Effective messaging should focus on contribution and benefit, not slashing prices.

Example: "Phenomenal service at an affordable price." vs "Tailor-fit service designed to add value and get results."


7) "Guaranteed"   

Why it Matters: Not only does this term illicit a certain gratifying security from readers in and of itself, it communicates a level of confidence in your product or service that acts as a kind of call to action, encouraging your reader to join in and see for themselves.

Example: "Professional coaching to take your business to the next level" vs "Professional coaching guaranteed to grow your business"

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