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Meatiness Doesn’t Sell: Know the Lingo
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s funny what works to sell products and what customers decide doesn’t appeal to them. But what’s even funnier is how brands like to dismiss these facts and forge ahead as their internal strategy suggests. If customers are willing to let brands know what works and what doesn’t, and if the data supports this, then brands need to listen. It’s not unusual for common words or descriptions to change. For instance, first it was "sports drink" and now it’s more appealing to say "energy drink." Pretty much the same product, but for some reason the new name suits today’s customers just a little bit better. And if that helps a brand win, then knowing the lingo is worth it.

Taco Bell is a brand that has been doing a lot of updating in the past year. With celebrity chefs and new products, it seems the brand is trying to become more relevant in the customer’s world. Smart move, Taco Bell. And so with this constant state of change and re-invention Taco Bell is done with the word “meat” (for now, anyway) and is focusing on “protein.” Why? Well, that’s what customers want. It seems that the word meat is alienating customers and doesn’t sound appealing. And when you’re in the business to sell food, appealing should be a top priority. So Taco Bell has shifted and is focusing its menu, its descriptions, and its products around the idea of protein. Sounds a bit more 2013 and a whole lot more appetizing.

It’s important for brands to understand what makes sense to customers and helps them purchase products or services. Because working in a brand vacuum is never a good idea. So words and concepts and messaging need to be tested and re-tested. Just because it worked last year or last season does not mean that one strategy will continue to give a brand success. And it’s also important to understand that simply updating some words and knowing the lingo doesn’t ultimately equal success. The products and services have to stand up to the words that describe them or else customers won’t follow along. It’s making sure two sides of the equation work together and hopefully this equals success for the brand.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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