Je LIKE beaucoup le 25-08-13
Yesterday morning I received a text message from a friend sharing her thoughts on a music album, signing up with “Je Like beaucoup”, which would be equivalent to “I aime a lot”.
Sounds peculiar, but also sounds good to know that someone shares your taste, doesn’t it?
As a Facebook user, my first reference was the social network application “to like” a post, a comment etc. Then, as a branding addict, this line also got me thinking about how brand innovation can create cultural words. About how much just a few words can enter the language, worldwide, and become one of the most iconic elements of a brand.
If we take Facebook, the two or three iconic brand words are the famous Like/Tag/Poke. But let’s be clear right away. When we say iconic, it means that these words have become emblematic of an action that is clearly visualized in the mind. Such clearness takes the floor over the conventional word, to become the new way of expressing yourself and therefore acting. But, and this but is very important, this language pattern modification seems to mostly happen to non-english speakers.
To put it in simple words, if you like a picture, in real life, you’ll naturally say “I like it”, but if you like a picture in real French life you’ll say “elle me plait” and not “Je like beaucoup”. And that’s exactly where brand language can play its part.
In Facebook case, the language and action pattern, related to the feeling of “liking” has slipped from the virtual world into the everyday life. The consequences are therefore a modification of language and mental representation.
If in real life I say “je like beaucoup” your picture, a burger, the latest movie and so on, I’m not only expressing my opinion or approving somebody else’s taste, I’m pressing a virtual button saying to my audience that we are connected, just by speaking the Facebook language.
I’m sure all of you remember the famous Youtube video about “Facebook in real life”, well it happens in real life.
The key lesson to learn from Facebook language is a creative scheme that can allow any brand to create real life community users on an international basis.
The scheme is simple: Innovate, name, get international.
Innovate, because you’ll work on people behavior and mental schemes. You’ll identify the patterns that you’ll be using for branding. Identification will allow you to use these patterns as they are, or exploit them to modify behaviors through new hardware or software applications, as the Facebook “like” button is.
Second stage, Name. Put words on these patterns and applications to bring out the related actions and therefore modify the perception of these actions. Naturally the modifications should be related to the brand positioning. Also knowing that these modifications will come from the last part of the scheme.
Finally, get international to enter the language and culture. If your language of origin is English, the percentage of behavioral and perception shift will be weaker if you just focus on English speaking countries. The reason is simple; people learn more foreign words than local ones, mostly if these words are part of new trends and innovations. As an example, most of the 150 new words of the 2011 French dictionary were either English based such as “Pop-up” or invented words related to trends such as “Adulescent” or brands as “Google”.
To put it simply, an essential driver of cultural brand language is brand innovation. In order to build a cultural community of speakers, you’ll therefore need simple but essential components:
Identify behavioral patterns and the wording they have today.
Define a clear brand positioning that will help to innovate.
Create innovative applications, both soft and hard innovations.
Identify how to name your innovations in relation to your brand positioning and patterns. Make sure the applications names are action focused.
Test them in different languages through storytelling and real life experiences.
Validate or change.
Launch and listen to how your brand language will now spread into everyday life.
It’s now time for a petit brainstorming, pourquoi pas !?
Pierre Nabhan – Co-Founder JOOSNABHAN