6 Buzzwords to Ban from Your Brand

Author: Gina Hall | September 18, 2016

Words matter when marketing your business or brand. You have to make an impact that is quick and engaging or your audience will scroll right past you. With limited time to grab your audience’s attention, why use words and phrases that make your brand appear behind the times? Buzzwords could help—right?

Not really. Do you roll your eyes when someone tells you to “think outside the box” or “lean in?” Of course you do, because the phrases (buzzwords) have been so overused and have lost all meaning.

Ban These 6 Buzzwords

  1. Hacks

    Hacks, or life hacks as they’re sometimes called, are a cute, tech-friendly way to refer to a shortcut to one of life’s little obstacles. The problem is that there have been so many posts, tweets, and Instagrams about hacks that they’ve lost all their novelty. While hack used to refer to a clever means to an end, now someone can call eating cereal for breakfast a life hack.

    Unless your business or product really does offer a shocking new way to do accomplish an ordinary task, move away from marketing content that promises the ultimate life hacks.

  2. Thought leader

    Right up there with “influencer,” the term “thought leader” is now used for anyone who wants to be known as a “thinking-person’s celebrity”. Unless you or someone at your company is really leading the way in an industry, avoid using this reference on your social media accounts.

  3. Gamification

    This buzzword refers to applying game techniques to challenging topics in order to engage your audience. This works for some things, like learning to code. While “gamifying” things can encourage people to take surveys or read your content, it’s best used if the game is actually fun and well-thought through. A business that taps into the gamifcation trend and still winds up with boring content has wasted the company’s time and resources.

    Avoid the gamification trap unless you do some market research to see if there’s really an audience for your efforts.

  4. Customer journey

    This term sounds like it comes from a satire making fun of corporate life, and yet it exists. The phrase refers to the process that leads to a purchase decision. Still, let’s leave journeys to world travelers. No one is going on a journey to buy your product or use your service.

  5. Disrupt

    Disruptive was a word used to define a company breaking new ground, but the term is now used to describe everything from art to hamburgers. Unless your business truly is the next Uber or Airbnb or putting multi-billion dollar industries on notice, steer away from using the word. File “game-changer” in this category, as well.

  6. Authentic

    This term is so overused that brands that employ the word come across as anything but authentic. Yes, your enterprise should strive to come across genuinely concerned for your clients, and your credibility is key when building relationships. But using the word “authentic” now sounds like you’re jumping on a bandwagon.

If you’re guilty of overusing these words, don’t worry. There are plenty of other words in the thesaurus—and perhaps you can coin the next big buzzword.

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