WARNING...this could be considered a rant.
Ok, buzzwords. We’ve heard them, hell most of us use them, but do we know why? We bet if we took a random poll, majority of participants wouldn’t be able to tell us why they use them - all they know is they sound like they’re “in the know” or at the very least sound impressive. For the intent of this piece, we’re going to focus on some of the most commonly used buzzwords in our industry and why we think the buzz needs to be killed.
BRAND. The problem with this as a buzzword is that it’s used in lieu of marketing, advertising, social media, digital marketing, public relations and everything else! The watering down of the word dilutes its power for those who use it properly. It also causes a lot of miscommunication with clients who say they want “brand strategy” but really are asking for something else such as public relations or media buys.
ORGANIC. This one should’ve faded years ago, yet it’s still overused. It’s such a lovely word because of the purity...yet it’s so impure in vocabulary. Articles, websites and ads that are obviously full of “hormones” (sales jargon, angles, etc.) are called organic. For the record, organic means free of nonsense. Keep that in mind the next time you think about using the word organic to describe your content.
STORYTELLING. Everyone is a storyteller now. Just using the word makes you sound smart, relevant and official...for the record, that’s all good. Be careful because the average person may use this word casually to fit into a conversation, but storytelling is an art and telling a story should be more than a catchphrase.
ENGAGEMENT. What’s your engagement like? How do you engage? Employee engagement, user engagement, customer engagement. Engagement. Engagement. Engagement. STOP. Try engaging with intention and then ask how your engagement is going. The purpose of engaging is to connect and make the person of contact feel important and respected. Consider this the next time you loosely use it.
EXPERIENCE. It’s all about the experience these days, and we think that’s fantastic. We’re always team experience. But actually understanding what an experience is and how it relates to your business and your brand is so much more intricate than the product or service you offer - which is what many refer to as their experience. Your experience is everything, from the moment your customer starts looking for your product until well after they’ve made a purchase. So don’t let the overuse of the word leave you thinking too small about your brand.
THOUGHT LEADER. This might be a favorite of ours because we hear it used by people who have no clue what it means to be a thought leader, yet consider themselves one. A thought leader is an individual or company that is widely recognized as an authority in their field and whose expertise and knowledge is sought after. The key is, you need to earn it! Too often we have companies that ask us for a strategy to position them as thought leaders, our question always is: What have you done to earn the title?
Now we realize that your list may be different from ours, but the point is that you have a list! Be mindful and more importantly be intentional with the words you use. It’s better to be silent than to try to fit by using words you don’t understand and risk looking foolish.