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Monday, October 10, 2011

WHAT'S THE BUZZ? Overused Words Impact Differentiation

As marketers, it is important that we differentiate our companies in the eyes of potential buyers. A way we differentiate is through the words we use to communicate the benefits of the products/services our companies sell.  Choosing words that buyers connect to is essential for top of mind awareness and recall during the buying process.   The words are not only used in print, but also by employees when communicating the companies products/services.

Photo from Idea Go
I recently ran across an article the highlighted words that are overused in the workplace and through it would be good to share some insights as a reminder of the key for differentiation.

When business or industry terms become overused, people stop paying attention to them,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps.  “The best communicators use clear and straightforward language that directly illustrates their points.”

The market and workplace is overwrought with clichés, buzzwords and industry jargon, often leading to a “disconnect” between coworkers and buyers. A survey, funded by Accontemps, was conducted by an independent research firm - telephone interviews with 150 senior executives from the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. Executives were asked, “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword?” Their responses included:
  • Leverage: As in, “We intend to leverage our investment in IT infrastructure across multiple business units to drive profits.”
  • Reach out: As in, “We consistently reach out to customers impacted by the change....”
  • Viral: As in, “Our video has gone viral.”
  • Game changer: As in, “Transitioning from products to solutions was a game changer for our company.”
  • Disconnect: As in, “There is a disconnect between what the consumer wants and what the product provides.”
  • Value-add: As in, “We have to evaluate the value-add of this activity before we spend more on it.”
  • Circle back: As in, “I’m heading out of the office now, but I will circle back with you later.”
  • Socialize: As in, “We need to socialize this concept with our key stakeholders.”
  • Interface: As in, “My job requires me to interface with all levels of the organization.”
  • Cutting edge: As in, “Our cutting-edge technology gives us a competitive advantage.”
  • Results:  As in, "Our product is top rated and provides you results that drive change."
  • Innovative:  As in, "Our innovative approach to solving problems leads to faster implementation."
Other words that surfaced included:  Solution, synergy, paradigm, customer centric, accountability management, core competency, alignment and incremental. 

Everyone is guilty of using buzzwords from time to time.  The problem is that these generic terms force buyers to interpret what you mean when you say them.  Choose your words carefully!

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Here's to differentiation!

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