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What PR buzzwords should you banish!

14th January 2016


“This story is meant to leverage the strategic interest the TA has in enhancing their performance as PR professionals, thereby tapping into the next –gen end user.”

Makes sense? Am sure it doesn’t! Yet, this kind of gobbledygook is found in so many press releases and bits of communication. When there is nothing to say, PR buzzwords become a useful replacement. 

What are the most overused PR buzzwords you wish would just disappear. Let’s find out.

Live examples of PR buzzwords

Here’s a recent one from Facebook, that’s riddled with buzzwords, we can now add “ frictionless” and “ delightful” to the list:

And here is a master class in buzzwords, in a press release issued this week by Tata, on the airline Vistara completing a year :

“New Delhi: Vistara, India’s fastest growing full service carrier, has successfully completed its first year of operations on January 9, 2016."

It goes on to say:

“Vistara has already flown more than one million happy customers within one year of operations which reflects the growing popularity of its differentiated product and service amongst the travellers in India. Manifesting the heart and soul of both Tata and Singapore Airlines, Vistara has demonstrated its unique value proposition to its customers consistently through a growing array of innovative offerings.”

Ban these words and phrases 

For Aman Dhall, head of PR, Policybazaar.com, the following phrases are red flags: 

"Thought leader-Merely flowing an article does not define "thought leadership". Instead, there has to be some method to madness.

Pioneer- Every company, person or event cannot be pioneers in their respective line of business. We, as an industry have overused  and abused this term.

Innovator -I am apprehensive of companies that call themselves as innovators. More often than not, the term tells us very little about the actual USP of any business.

Hugely anticipated- Chances are, no one has ever heard or even expressed curiosity about the news announcement. As soon as someone use this term, you can be certain that it is something that is not so popular amongst the masses." 

PR consultant Aahna Gandhi Gupta wishes the words could be taken out of press releases:

“'Leading', for a simple reason, each and every company cannot be leading at the same time, right? Let's think before calling a company leading:
- Against which company is your company leading? 
- What level/amount of leading are you talking about? Define it!
- Based on the above, is this the right word to position your company?

Advises Gupta, “Do not use the word, just because it's the center of attraction in the market. So, start creating a new word that will resonate with your brand and make it the center of attraction.”

'Disruptive' has been overused across press releases. We often see the word used in technical press releases. However, it's best to explain the disruptive innovation by elaborating how the product/service is being disruptive and changing ways in the existing product/service market. For instance, instead of just saying, "The XX product uses disruptive technology methods that will.....", let's try something like this, " The XX product will increase the requirement rate for consumers by adopting to new performances such as...... ".  Now, this explains the word disruptive.”

Rishi Bammi, PR & communication professional, says “PR is guilty of stretching some words beyond their limit. Bammi’s list of words which certainly need to be kicked out of PR include:  

“Touch base - This word really sounds so unprofessional. 

Revert -  People are still saying that 'I will  revert back to you; they should say that 'I will get back to you. Reverting means returning to the previous question. This should be changed. 

End User - This is yet another vague PR term that both clients and PRs love to use in press releases to make sound more B2B. It's better to stick with word 'customers' as it gives clear picture. For eg. “Super Receptionist app is a personal assistant for the customers.

Best/Biggest - Emphasizing the strengths of the company you're pitching is a good thing. But instead of using best or biggest one can make use of word 'first' provided it is blatantly true. Eg - EduSports is India's first and largest sport enterprise which provides structured physical education for kids in schools. 

Award winning - Unless you're announcing that you have actually won a big award  (which is really newsworthy) , don't talk about the rest.

Next - Generation - Overused. Use the word 'Updated version'. It sounds as if only young people have the ability to comprehend and rest are just not capable. It is derogatory in nature.

Leverage -  I am so tired of hearing this word by one or the other PR Professional. For me it is a barely humbug term which is absolutely meaningless and overused. “

Mou Chakravorty, senior consultant, Aim High India detests the words digital and innovation: 

“Innovation : From startups to SMEs and large organization, every brand has common messaging termed under ‘innovation’ . In fact this PR term has been over utilized to an extend where brands across sectors relate every small aspect of their business modification and term it as innovation . PR needs to understand the difference between innovation and modification.

Digital : With the Government of India’s focus on ‘Digital India’, another buzzword in PR is ‘Digital’. This buzzword has been linked and used by most of the brands starting from manufacturing to technology led to real estate as well as budding startups and entrepreneurs. Its over utilized! “

And what’s on my buzzword hate list? Low hanging fruit, integrated communication, deep dive and PFA (which I had to google to figure out!).

Have we left any out? Do tell us your list in comments below.

Written by Paarul Chand+, PRmoment.in


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