IN A CITY teeming with marketing firms it pays to stand out from the crowd.

And for one firm, distinctiveness informs its entire way of seeing the world. According to Lingua Brand, based in Brighton, language gives a unique insight into thinking and perception – not just of individuals but of entire brands. Using unique software, the firm analysed thousands of words put out on websites and social media to establish which sportswear giant out of Adidas and Nike has the most distinctive or generic language.

The answer was Nike – until Lingua Brand helped make Adidas’s values more unique and boosted its profit margins. Managing director and founder Alastair Herbert (pictured right) explained: “Brands use words randomly and don’t really understand their impact.

“They’re aware that visual design is a really important part of what they do.

“But with language you can communicate at a distance.”

While marketing and social media guidelines have developed, the power of precise language remains underestimated.

On average 54 per cent of what brands say is generic, which means most are saying the same as competitors and leaving potential customers bored.

Lingua Brand gets brands to cut the hot air and establish its unique verbal identity and values.

Alastair, a former City marketing manager for FTSE, said: “What we’re doing is stripping companies naked.

“They don’t realise words mean so much. We understand them better than we understand themselves.”

As well analysing what brands say, Lingua Brand examines what people are saying on social media.

By “quantifying people’s gut feelings and hunches” insights can be gained into how firms are perceived.

The firm’s software can even analyse tones of voice with choice of language betraying the way we see the world. Alastair said: “The wonderful thing about language is it is organised around the way we think and work.

“The way we speak is a direct reflection of the way we think.

“Fundamentally we can understand someone by what they say.”

When workers talk about “being under the cosh” they are using a violent metaphor to convey how they feel.

And Nike is known for framing sport as an individual, heroic pursuit – not a collaborative team pursuit.

Alastair added: “There’s multiple ways you can choose to frame a conversation.

“We can map how companies think and feel about the world, based on how they frame what they are saying and their use of metaphors.”

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