How would you feel if your favorite brand posted about how their products were high-key awesome?
...Or if they began customer emails with “Hey Fam”?
...What if they said their customers were Bae?
When your writing is intended to persuade, whether it’s marketing material, product descriptions or customer support replies, the most important aspect is clarity.
Using slang language can seem like a really great idea for marketing. You might think it shows that your business is modern and on top of trends.
Maybe you think using industry slang and jargon will make your brand stand out, and create a lasting impression that you are an expert in your field.
Maybe you even are an expert, but if you can't communicate with your audience, they’ll never know why they should get on board.
Let’s look at a real-life example from Youtube. Comedian Danny Gonzalas released a music video titled “That’s the Tea” on his channel. It’s a brilliant roundup of slang and jargon from 2019. In the context I’m sharing, it’s also a prime example of how using jargon can isolate customers.
While it’s possible you know what “Yeet oof wig weave gang gang flex yee yee drip” means (I don’t) you can quickly see how your customers could be feeling lost and annoyed by this.
If your marketing or messaging is written for someone who does not work in your industry, which is typical of B2C marketing, you should avoid jargon at all costs. Rather, you should talk to your current customers, and take notes of the words they use to describe your product.
There are times and places for slang and memes and all things pop culture. Social media, particularly Instagram, can be great for this sort of quick content. But keep it to those channels. You don't want your audience to feel alienated or like they don't belong.
In business, your words and image are your weapons. In the battle for your market share, you need to choose the right ones. Don’t go into the ring armed with a banana, it won’t end well.
Overuse of buzzwords and slang instead of basic language could mean that your customers begin to mistrust your brand and your message.
When speaking to your audience, choose clarity over jargon.
Slang goes out of style very quickly. Think about the words you used as a teenager. How many of those slang words do you still use today? It’s almost impossible to know how long these words will be popular for, so your attempt to look cool and trendy can really backfire if you miss the mark.
One of my favorite examples of this is Mountain Dew on Twitter.
Let’s clear this up. Bae is an acronym meaning “before anyone else” so Mountain Dew saying the bae makes no sense. It also came onto the word a little late in the game.
It comes down to this: If you want to create a brand experience that is timeless, always prioritize communication over popular culture.
And that’s the tea.