There used to a blog called World Leading that poked fun at the PR industry. Its title was of course a reminder of how stupid it is to make false statements about a client’s products or business. Yet a quick scan of the latest press releases shows that all too many companies think they are the world’s leading something or other. In the era of social media such statements seem silly and counter productive. Customers can easily find out if a product or company is a world leader, or if it is in fact a laggard. Yet, as I say, companies still do it. Here’s a recent example by Ford: “Ford Motor Company, the police vehicle market leader for 15 years, has done it again.” Sadly companies use all sorts of other rubbish in their materials. Here are some words and expressions large companies have in their materials right now, that I would love to see them eliminate:
- Synergy – I don’t need to explain why this word should not be used do I?
- Platform – this is rapidly becomming an overused term in technology with just about every company creating a platform for other technologies
- Open – again this is a word that is over used by technology companies and is often untrue in its application
- “Enduring commitment” – phrases like these makes my blood boil. Either you are committed or you are not. The ‘Enduring’ part simply makes no sense.
- Convergence – there just has to be a better word or phrase.
- “Integrated applications” – the use of phrases that sound intelligent but tell you nothing about what is actually going on, drives me nuts.
- “Go to market” – marketing speak… do real people use such expressions?
- “all new” – this implies that the other versions you announced weren’t really new at all.
- “active dialog” – I think I know what they meant to say… sadly they didn’t
- Revolutionary – really? The product really is revolutionary? Would customers call it revolutionary? I doubt it.
Now I genuinely took these words and expressions from press releases issued by large companies in the last 30 days. These are brands you would definitely have heard of. Despite their prominence they still feel it necessary to use language that is at best confusing and at worst obvious exaggeration. PR PROs, please do your part to make materials an honest and sensible reflection of the brands you represent. Blatant over statement stands out like a sore thumb and makes us all look stupid.