Communicating effectively plays an essential role in every brand’s success. Using familiar and concise language helps create a message that consumers can easily understand. It’s been shown that brands with clearer writing styles tend to generate more conversation and loyalty. However, some brands use buzzwords to differentiate themselves; when in reality, they are distancing themselves from their consumer.
What is a buzzword?
Buzzwords are words or phrases that quickly gain popularity, eventually becoming used by brands across every industry. They are flashy, new, and popular. Because of their status, buzzwords can help generate clicks and create interest in a story or campaign.
As PR and marketing professionals, it can be tempting to use buzzwords as a shortcut to success, relying on the word or phrase to draw attention. Communicators will use a word like “disruptor” to convey that they create an impact by disrupting their industry. Rather than explaining how or what they do differently, the communicator relies on the buzzword to carry their message.
How are buzzwords harmful to your message?
The problem with buzzwords starts with overuse. When a buzzword first catches on, it conveys real meaning; however, oversaturation starts to wear down the word or phrase until no substance is left. The term becomes a placeholder for a stronger, more impactful word.
Buzzwords can shift your message, giving it a new meaning entirely. Choosing a word found in every article or headline communicates that your message is no different from the other stories that use the same jargon. Buzzwords erase your differentiation, rendering your message meaningless.
Additionally, buzzwords emphasize style over substance. Why use a word like “cooperate” when you could use a word like “synergy”? The simple answer is style. This emphasis on flair weakens your message and doesn’t communicate why your brand is important.
How to avoid killing your buzz
Using buzzwords and jargon can be tempting, but simpler, common words will benefit your message. Audiences today are adept at tuning out fancy words and cryptic messages. Using more common words makes them more likely to stick around to hear what you have to say.
Taking a human-centered approach to communication is another way you can eliminate buzzwords. Thinking about how your story or product directly impacts audiences and then communicating those impacts eliminates the need for impressive filler words.
Audiences are more eager to engage when they feel a message and tone is authentic. Buzzwords take individuality away and make it easy to tune out. Authenticity is key, don’t lose it using buzzwords.