Business writing

Add colour to your business copywriting

- June 3, 2011 2 MIN READ

When doing business copywriting, it’s imperative that you use words that describe both the technical aspects of your product or service and the image and personality you want to convey.

Like colours themselves, the words you use literally alter your readers’ perception – so the more colourful you can make yours, the better.

The beauty of the English language is that you can choose from a variety of words to describe the very same thing. The word you use will create a different image.

Do you recall the Billy Crystal movie City Slickers, about three friends who take a vacation on a cattle ranch and play cowboy for a week as a way to recapture the joy in their lives?

In an early scene, the chief cowboy, memorably played by Jack Palance (who won an Oscar for the role) summons Billy Crystal’s character to come over to him, and Billy wise-cracks:

Hello boys. I thought I’d mosey on over here. You know, I’ve never moseyed before. I’ve walked, I’ve ambled…I even sashayed once.

Notice those words: mosey, amble and sashay. They all mean the same thing, each describing different ways of walking. But more than that, each word conjures up very different images of the type of character who would do such a walk.

You can’t imagine a tough John Wayne-type sashaying, can you? He’d more likely mosey or amble (with his thumbs tucked into the waist of his jeans). On the other hand, you can quite easily see Marilyn Monroe, dressed to the hilt, sashaying into a room.

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By the way, this is the definition of each of these types of gait:

  • Sashay: to glide, move, proceed easily or nonchalantly
  • Mosey:  to wander, shuffle about leisurely
  • Amble: to go at a slow, easy pace

Add to this list other words describing the mundane act of walking: stroll, saunter, shuffle, strut, dawdle, traipse, ramble, and loiter. You can see that each conveys a very different image. Elvis wouldn’t just walk. And he certainly wouldn’t amble or mosey; he’d most likely strut, or maybe saunter with an air of insouciance.

So, when you write to market products, make sure you choose your words carefully. The right words can capture your reader’s imagination and underscore the brand perceptions you’re trying to create.

Have you noticed an example of colourful business copywriting recently? Please inspire us all by sharing it below.

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