Like magicians with their props or fishermen with their time-tested lures, brand marketers and storytellers rely upon a handy assortment of contrivances for seducing an audience.
Brand marketers’ tools are words/phrases, emotions, and metaphors, and the most effective tools are words that encompass emotions and metaphors that arrest the audience’s attention and incite a transformation.
In this post, you’ll learn how to use potent phrases like a magician. Specifically in these areas
- The definition of potent phrases (and why they’re so powerful);
- GRABBERS: the teasers, headlines, slogans, opening statements, provocative questions, and other attention-getters that pull your audience into your message.
- CALL-TO-ACTIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS: the words and phrases used to convey the compelling qualities and opportunities that incite action.
- CLINCHERS: the persuasive closing statements that can push an undecided reader over the response threshold.
- “Special Strategies,” is packed with insidiously influential words and phrases for specialized purposes, from “Flattering the Reader” to “Selling Your Ideas.”
Let’s dive in.
What are Potent Phrases?
Potent Phrases are persuasive emotional or metaphorical phrases that can inspire and incite action. They are like freshly squeezed juice that triggers thirsty, not those stale and recycled cliches put you to sleep. Potent phrases make us feel nostalgic, encouraged, aroused, angry, compelled, safe, or curious. Storyteller, radio commentators, TV hosts, copywriters, and content marketers use “potent phrases” to make sound bites and compel audiences to take action.
Clear as fog?
Let’s elucidate an example from the TV Madmen when the dashing ad men Don Draper is tasked to brand Kodak’s new product, “The Wheel”, the slide projector. Don’t pitch goes:
“Well, technology is a glittering lure, but there’s the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on the level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job, I was in house at a fur company with this old pro copyrighter, a Greek named Teddy. And Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is “new”. Creates an itch (problem). You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. He also talked about a deeper bond with the product. Nostalgia. It’s delicate but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a space ship. It’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the Wheel. It’s called the Carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Around and around and back home again to a place where we know we are loved.”
Touching, right? Insidiously persuasive, on the TV Don put his colleague and client to tears during this pitch.
He chose words, phrases, and metaphors to be more accurate, potent phrases. Each bold phrases makes the audience feel something, visualize and understand something.
In this case, Don intermixes metaphors to convey new concepts with old familiars and evoke the emotions of “back home” “loved”. “child travels” “Carousel”. The last, in particular, is narrative-based over and over, practically drilling the emotion into the minds of the audience.
It’s no accident.
Potent Phrases = Emotional Words Packed with Metaphors
I kept an ear open for persuasive phrases that I heard over the radio and on television over the years. I read websites, blogs, e-mail inbox for the occasional gold nugget embedded in the spam, and dismiss hopeless clichés such as “works like magic” and “right at your fingertips” . etg.
I shunned any slogans that were closely identified with specific products. Think of this sourcebook as your personal magic kit—or, if you prefer, a bottomless tackle box filled with glittering lures.
Words that motivate the human spirit have remained relatively constant. We’re still obsessed with status, security, comfort, fear, convenience, money, and all the other primal preoccupations of our species throughout the centuries.
This volume represents an attempt to gather the most potent of these words and phrases into a single sourcebook. So that when you need quick inspiration on short notice, you don’t want to scour a list that’s as long as the Declaration of Independence. With this sourcebook at your side, you’ll be able to go straight to the phrases that suit your needs. You’re nearly twice as quickly to find a word or phrase that hits the mark.
Browse through its lists at leisure to expand your repertoire.
Instead of groping for words, your mind will be free to focus on shaping a message that generates an enthusiastic response from your audience.
The surprising popularity of Potent Phrases over the years has shown me that you don’t always need to hire an ad agency to create an effective campaign.
You don’t even need to be a professional writer. What matters is that you have the desire to influence from the heart, the savvy to reach your audience, and the determination to succeed.
That and a good thesaurus will help you go miles toward accomplishing your goals. It made its way into the hands of entrepreneurs, public relations professionals, sales reps and their managers, CEOs, corporate team builders, motivational experts, and, most recently, Webmasters with sites to promote.
I hope you use it regularly and profitably!