Bark AND Bite

Eliminating “weasel words” sparked an interesting discussion: How do we replace the weasel?

The key is using words that have bark AND bite for your brand. It’s not one-size-fits-all—each of us has a different “voice” and it’s important to choose your words accordingly.

But there are a few tips to increase the effectiveness of the words you use to describe yourself to potential clients:

Use power words: Words that convey action, motion, forward movement. Start becomes “ignite”. Help becomes “promote” or “build”. Succeed becomes “thrive”. Push yourself to use language that gives clients a visual picture of what you bring to the table.

Think emotional resonance: Words and phrases that hook potential clients and draw them in. Memorable? Unforgettable. Permanent? Forever. Persuade? Compel. Clients buy based on how you make them feel, so show them what to expect.

Evoke your brand: Words that capture the essence of your brand. If you’re all about innovation, use current, pithy language. Synthesize vast quantities of data? Use short, direct, clear wording. Or show your warmth and understanding through empathetic, hopeful phrasing. Demonstrate your brand in action.

Let your bark (how you get attention) match your bite (what you do with it).


  • Rochelle,
    I find it interesting that, especially the young writers today feel they have to write in a passive or infinitive style. They use words like; would, should and shall, instead of definite words like “will.” We don’t always have to use colourful adjectives but we do need to have the point come across in a powerful statement!
    Happy New Year and all the best for 2011 and beyond… :?)

  • And happy 2011 to you too Tom!

    Perhaps we are all getting spoiled by the immediacy of communications–and the short form for texts crossing over to other media. I find myself writing BTW–and–sometimes–am able to stop myself 🙂

  • Timely advice Rochelle! When drafting any client communications, I wouldn’t use “weasel” words, but I seem to use them as descriptions on my website. This will be on the agenda for our weekly internal conference call!


  • It can be challenging, but well worth the effort to “whack the weasel”. You go girl!

  • Mark Frederick

    Thanks, Rochelle, I like this post. Would also add a word of caution around using too many “power words” as they can often become cliched and overused. E.g. I’ve been seeing a lot of “thriving” these days.

    Also, the point about “choosing your words” is crucial, particularly if you are marketing to a more global audience. There are many business cultures that are far more understated than ours, including our friends the Brits as well as Germans and Japanese. “Choose your words” and “know your audience”.



  • Thanks for your thoughts Mark–it’s good to look at what others in our specialty are saying to ensure we’re distinct. Your global aspect comment is also spot-on. Cultural differences can snag the best intentions…

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