Use Iconic Terminology To Distinguish Yourself and Your Services

March 21, 2018 8:57 am


Use Iconic Terminology To Distinguish Yourself and Your Services

If you have never heard the term iconic terminology before, don’t worry about it. I just made it up.

Truth be told, it was the words of Jay Abraham (once again) that triggered this spark of creativity.

In discussing the Marketing Maven Matrix, itself an excellent example of iconic terminology, Abraham touches on the importance of Special Phraseology. By way of clarification of this jargony phrase, he describes it as … your iconic phrases and terminology that makes you utterly unique in your market.

The Value of Being Utterly Unique

Distinguishing themselves from all others is the single most challenging marketing issue facing professionals. This means that to potential clients, most professionals seem pretty much like every everyone else in their field.

In practice, lawyers tend to be indistinguishable one from another; most accountants seem the same as the others. Rightly or wrongly, the same considerations apply to consultants, coaches and every one else who provides services. This perception of indistinguishability nurtures the stereotypical images that many people have of professionals.

Personal branding is the best strategy for overcoming the issue of indistinguishability.

Your personal brand differentiates you from the competition. It distinguishes you and your services, helping you stand out from all others. And even better, your brand also promises benefits that potential clients can expect from your services.

Combining the ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace, together with promised benefits to clients, branding gives you a unique position in your marketplace. This unique position helps you attract more of the kinds of clients you like to serve and are good at satisfying.

This being the case, the more unique … or utterly unique … the better. Right? And anything that helps make you utterly unique, such as iconic terminology, has to be good.

Telling Your Story, Your Way

Marketing communications tell the story of how your services help clients.

Unfortunately in the look-alike world of professional services, most marketing communications are of the me-too variety reflecting the indistinguishability of individual service-providers.

Instead of understandable language, the all-too-common approach seems to be industry jargon … or worse, sales puffery.

Few practices promote and enhance indistinguishability more effectively than industry jargon and sales puffery.

Good marketing communications help promote a unique position in the marketplace.

Better marketing communications are based on telling the story of you and your brand.

The best marketing communications tell your story … in your own words. Iconic terminology make the best marketing communications even better.

A Familiar Concept

Although I created the term for this blog post, the concept is really quite well known.

For example, how does Starbucks describe the sizes of their small, medium and large size coffee drinks?

Similarly, in my neighborhood there is an iconic Canadian coffee shop…Tim Horton’s. Basically a Canadian version of Starbucks, eh? But the Tim Horton’s fast food outlets don’t serve customers: they “help guests”.

Referring back to Jay Abraham’s term Marketing Maven Matrix, how iconic is that?

The truly distinctive stand-above-the crowd word is maven. A common dictionary definition of this word is one who is experienced or knowledgeable.

But here’s the magic: a common synonym is expert.

Iconic Terminology Boosts Your Story

Regardless of your service, there are competitors who call themselves experts in one area or another. But how many call themselves mavens?

Certainly as an expert in your field, you can distinguish yourself from competing experts by calling yourself a maven. But that’s not to say, or even suggest, that you use the term maven in your marketing. To do so would constitute me-too marketing, a counter-productive action which only serves to help you blend into the crowd.

I referred to Abraham’s use of the word maven to illustrate the marketing application of iconic terminology.

Another example would be the word laser in describing my marketing coaching service. Totally unaware of the iconic potential, I chose the word laser to describe the service because it reflects the unique nature of the coaching itself. Unlike a series of coaching sessions, laser coaching is a single short session in which one specific issue is addressed in order to develop an appropriate resolution. The fact that it demonstrated the application of iconic terminology is an added bonus.

Now, shifting the focus to you, a reasonable question would be … how can iconic phraseology help distinguish you in your market?

You need not be a marketing maven to answer. You probably only need two things.

One is a solid understanding of what distinguishes you from the competition. Those would be the elements that went into your brand statement. Prioritize these factors into your best 2-3 features.

The other thing you will need is an online thesaurus to come up with synonyms for these features.

Pick the best synonym for your best feature… and you have the keyword for your own iconic terminology. Use strategically and sparingly in your marketing communications.

Have some word fun and let me know what you come up with.

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