Sounding disruptive – sh*t you need to know


Want to know a jot jot boom trade secret?

I get hired because I say 'fuck' a lot.

I've been described as being full of 'sweary wisdom' by fellow freelance colleagues and—hell—it's true. I am wise, but I am very sweary.

I'm also colloquial as fuck and, apparently, it just makes me more attractive to clients.

In fact; to makes me attractive to one specific type of client in particular: the disruptors. The fashion, finance and tech startups that want to sound edgy, modern and distinctive. They want to shake off the tired crap and cut through the noise with a voice that demands to be noticed.

So let's take a minute to undermine my professional value by revealing how it's done.

Prepare to be DISRUPTED...

Nailing a disruptive tone of voice

1. Subversion

When you start a copy job, the first thing you'd usually do is look at what competitors in the space are saying, and use your brand's niche to sound different. Occupy a new space, if you will.

If you want to sound disruptive, you need to find the common thread in their messages and shed a light on it. You need to tell people that this is how it's usually done, and how you're not fucking doing that at all.

This tactic serves to lump everyone else together and single you out as a badass.


2. Bin off jargon

In most cases, a disruptive brand wants to sound like they're cutting the shit a bit. They don't want to use the same jargon that is typical for their industry, they want to sound like they're keeping it 'real'.

You can do this by throwing in some colloquialisms and by keeping the language really simple. No hefty words, long sentences or heavy paragraphs


3. Actually be different

As I mentioned, I'm approached by a lot of startups wanting to sound disruptive. This is all good, and although it's not something I really believe in (because disruption is the new marketing 'norm') the job is far easier when the product or service actually IS DIFFERENT.

Consumers aren't idiots and they're more savvy about marketing than ever before. Disruption is more about DOING than it is about SAYING. Show how you're different and the rest will fall into place.


4. Use swear words*

*Not really.**

**Okay, sometimes.

Emma Cownley