Shiang-ling and I are different in many ways. It’s one of the things that makes our partnership so awesome and rewarding. She’s the artistic spirit and I’m the methodical analyzer. She’s the bold daredevil and I’m the reserved cautionary. She’s the serial entrepreneur and I’m (well, was) the corporate worker.
Another thing that we differ on is cursing for our brand.
Now, I’m all for the occasional “hell” or “damn” interjected in a blog posts every now and then. But when it comes to the f-bomb or the b-word, I pull back immediately. Heck, I can’t even bring myself to spell out the entire word (even if they are italicized AND in quotations). I even hate to say “hell” so I opt for “heck” instead. Plus, I’m from Texas so it’s part of my vernacular.
BUT, there are so many brands out there that are dropping the f-bomb and the b-bomb, and dropping them A LOT!

So, does cursing fit YOUR brand?

There’s no need to be a prude; we all curse! Whether it’s at the damn dog that you tripped over, in the car at that asshole who cut you off on the freeway, or when you’re responding to a friend’s sassy remark with “bitch, please!” But does it fit your brand?
Here are some questions to think about in order to figure out if cursing fits you, your brand, and your business.

What type of people do you want to surround yourself with?

We tend to flock to what we know or recognize. Be proactive and think about how integrating curse words into your brand might change the people who gravitate to your business or seek you out.

Who is your target audience?

But go deeper than the usual demographics of sex and age. Think about how they spend their free time and what other brands they connect with. Does your target audience LOVE Stephen Colbert? If so, they won’t be so shocked or turned off by those four letter words. Or does your audience obsess over Princess Diana and prefer sophistication in all things?

Does it enhance or improve upon the work you are trying to do?

Cursing is one way to transform a boring subject matter into something vivacious and daring. Lately, brands have used cursing as a way to be genuine and transparent and break down that Stepford Wives facade. Another way that cursing could be used to benefit your brand is using it in a way that gives your audience courage and empowerment!

If you are a local business, where are you?

If you live in Utah or anywhere in the bible belt, cursing may not be well-received and could come off as offensive. However, if your business is located in Boston or New York, your audience is more likely to respond positively to a few well-placed curse words.
With so much noise, we are all looking for ways to differentiate ourselves and stand out. Will having an edgy brand that curses propel your business to success or will it come across as crass? Whatever conclusion you arrive at, be sure that you’ve thought about it long and hard, and then go back to the beginning and think about it again! Then, ask SEVERAL other people for their opinion. Show them writing samples so they see and understand the context. It may be the best or worst decision you make for your business.

Here are a few brands that we love who integrate cursing in a genuine, fun, non-combative way! Take a look and see how it has worked for others.

Thug Kitchen
The Middle Finger Project
Dollar Shave Club

So, what’s your stance on cursing?

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