What happens to a brand when the euphemism itself starts to take on derogatory overtones, even if only in the mouths of the mean-spirited?
Some view it as a scandal that the CEO of J.P. Morgan "knew" about the risky trades long ago. Or that the Bush administration knew "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.." Or that the average cell phone customer can know when they're roaming, and yet still be surprised by the data charges from vacation, whether it's $100 to upload a photo to Facebook, or $62,000 for downloading Wall-E. What is rarely mentioned is the amount of information that lands on the desk of a CEO or a President, or every single one of us, every day.
When I started writing a blog to support my book, Talk Normal: Stop the Business Speak, Jargon, and Waffle, I had an inkling that many of the words I loathed were common in the offices where I was working. But this could be an illusion: once we’re bothered by something, we tend to notice it more. So it could be that the business buzzwords that make me cranky are no more significant than the guy who bumps my chair when he walks past--which, on second thought, isn’t a big deal, he’s been doing it for years. Not so, it seems.
I feel like there's a plague across the advertising and marketing industry (and maybe we're not the only ones). This isn't the first time I've mentioned this, but I think it's worth revisiting. We use words and phrases that are not commonly understood by the people we're communicating with. There seem to be two reasons why this happens.
Avid Twitter-er and author of the upcoming The Social Media Marketing Book spent nine months analyzing roughly 5 million tweets and 40 million retweets (which are usually symbolized with an "RT" on Twitter). He noted when they were posted, which words they used, whether or not they included links, and more. Then, he says, he compared the two groups to get the first "real window" into how ideas spread from person to person: "Retweets may seem like a small idea...but many of the lessons [they teach us] will be applicable to viral ideas in other mediums."
Every so often the vocabulary of business adopts new words that filter into the mainstream business psyche. For example, the language of brands and branding is now commonly used and understood across a range of sectors— from universities to social enterprises to small businesses. Over the past year or two, the new vocabulary has brought in “sustainability,” whether it is to talk about the environment or general business operations, about communities or the future. Google the term and you’ll see that “sustainability” has 28 million definitions—only a few million short of the 34 million entries for “branding." Words that become common business parlance can shift in meaning and, in doing so, become open to a multitude of interpretations.
What is it about the name "Twitter" that we love so much - or love to hate? The microblogging service has spawned hundreds of tie-in software applications and not a few slang terms, from the common, like "tweeple" (a portmanteau of "Twitter" and "people") to the obscure, like "tweskank," a girl who tweets while on a date. Collectively, these are known as - wait for it - "twords."
At the excellent MarketingProfs B2B Forum a couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of attending “Marketing 2.0: Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Mix” a session hosted by IBM’s Sandy Carter. Carter’s presentation offered a variety of valuable social media insights and strategies on three interesting projects at IBM. The lessons learned from one case study in particular stuck out as worth sharing.
In the new Bing-enabled world, search is hotter than ever. Your entire Search Insider lineup has been trading quips and forecasts about the future of search. Aaron Goldman thinks Hunch may be the answer to my call for an iPhone of search. Today, I want to talk about why Wolfram|Alpha is very, very important to watch. It's not an iPhone, but it is changing the rules of search in a very significant way.