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Language Data Snapshot Aug-Sept 2020: What’s Normal is New Again

As we head into month nine (!) of the pandemic, every new or retained customer account counts more than ever, especially for retailers facing a holiday season unlike any other. The language landscape continues to evolve and show more nuance with every passing month. These three takeaways from our latest data roundup provide data-driven guidance for how to effectively engage consumers who have a lot on their plate.

Achievement and Attention are still top performers

Both Achievement and Attention continue to be top-performing emotions as we continue to establish the “new normal.” “Earning,” “scoring,” “landing,” and “unlocking” offers make promotions feel more special and unique. Right now, it’s the best way to engage an audience that might feel like they haven’t achieved much over the last several months.

Don’t forget about Trust-based emotions

The Trust emotions of Gratitude, Intimacy, and Safety also continue to perform well compared with negative emotions. Regret and Urgency, as well as the Anticipation-based emotions Encouragement, Curiosity, and Challenge, all perform less than the baseline. 

Avoid Challenge and Regret

We often talk a lot about best practices and what works, but let’s talk about what to avoid. These days, it’s best to avoid Challenge and Regret, which may make customers feel left out or excluded, such as “ready or not” and “you are missing out.” However, it’s important to note that some softer language does perform well within these emotions. 

For example, for Regret, “you’re about to miss” might not seem different than “you are missing out.” However, it’s much more impactful because it implies an extended invitation. When contextualized and used playfully, Challenge does make a positive impact. “Ready or not” was a low-performing phrase; however, in one experiment, “get ready to look your very best” performed quite well.

As always, it’s critical to experiment often to keep pace with changing communication norms and expectations.