27.3.09

Talk Straight, Ditch the Jargon

I recently listed the media clichés I despise most on my personal blog. In the interest of balance and fairness, I think it’s time we eliminated some of the worst blights that exist in PR and marketing. It’s something I’ve been vocal on before in PR Week last year, but we really must avoid the below for the sake or our own integrity:

- “Market-leading” – when you’re not. If you’re not Microsoft, Ford, Real Madrid or something similar, you’re NOT a market leader. Don’t lie, just tell the media what you do

- “Solution” – this is a pet hate of mine

- “One-stop shop” – what is this, Saturday morning kids’ TV? I thought this phrase had died out about the same time as the VCR, but I spotted it today

- “We welcome [announcement X from third part Y followed by fawning self-congratulation]…” – as a media alert, this is a false start. Just get on with it, what’s the point you’re trying to make?

- “We’re delighted [that unheard of salesman X has joined anonymous company Y]…” – good, it’d be worrying to think that you’d hired someone you were lukewarm or even reluctant to take on…

I could go on, but I won’t. As an industry we need to eliminate this banality once and for all. If we’re going to flatter ourselves with the title “Creative Industry” then we need to live up to it.

4 comments:

  1. its not 'leading' that gets me, its the need to put in an extremely long description, a la 'Company x, the leading provider of software solutions to the financial services industry has announced today'.

    Why not just 'company x announced today'? The answer, as all PRs will tell you, is that clients demand it.

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  2. I wonder if the industry should instate an annual 'PR truth' day, where we're all beholden to tell the absolute truth about what our clients are up to (with the exception of corporate secrets of course). I wonder how many press releases would end up:

    "Company x, a particularly uninteresting software vendor, today announced the 'launch' of a slightly upgraded version of its old product. Admittedly, it's been out six months already, but hey, it's the first day of that big annual trade show - and they really want to get in the papers."

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  3. exactly! it's at this point where GOOD PR firms will say "actually, that won't float anyone's boats, have you got anything else? we'll have think and come up with something anyway to help you out."

    sadly, there aren't enough firms brave enough to say that

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  4. I agree, 'the leading' needs to be ceremoniously burned at the stake. If you only lead the niche that you invented so your company could lead it, there is simply no point.

    We should stage a PR flash mob in central London and ask all PRs against 'the leading solution of' to turn up.

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