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Catchphrases: Useful Metaphors Keeping Everyone on the Same Page, or Rhetoric that's Lost Its Legs

by on ‎04-22-2009 09:07 AM (8,584 Views)

Okay, so this one’s obviously meant to be a little on the lighter side, but I’m going to find some relevance to marketing somewhere in there. Really, I am.


My friend Gus and I have been talking about those phrases that—at least in an unnamed-to-protect-the-innocent technology company—start popping up in meetings, e-mails, and the like, and then suddenly everyone you know in the company is using this phrase. And while they’re meant to be useful in helping the broader audience understand the significance of the statement the person’s trying to make, they’re frankly sometimes annoying after they’ve been used somewhere around a bazillion times. And even more annoying…when you find yourself using those same phrases that annoy you!


Note: if you want to take this offline, or don’t have the bandwidth to think about this right now, let’s circle back on it, shall we?


(For those of you keeping score at home, here comes the marketing relevance part.) At what point should these phrases actually enter official company communication? Should you ever/never use one of these phrases in a brochure, on a Web site, in an e-mail, or within a sales meeting with a client? Does it make you seem in-the-know and hip, or passé and out of touch?


At the end of the day, catchphrases have their uses, most definitely, in conveying meaning quickly and with a bit of originality. But at what point do these phrases suffer The Hootie Effect? (Big shout out to another friend of mine, Sheridan, who came up with this phrase for me. It means where something—and in this case, a catchphrase—gets so big, so fast and spreads like wildfire, that it burns out really quickly.) If someone uses a catchphrase that was once really original and well, catchy, but is now really cliché, do you turn off what they’re saying, write them off, wish they’d just stop talking? Or does it not really bother you?


So, just for fun … QUICK, name the phrase that annoys you the most and you wish would be expunged from all voice and written communication from here on out! And even better, provide a substitute for it we should all start using, and let’s see how long it takes to catch on in the greater (or at least ACT!) world.

on ‎04-30-2009 01:25 PM
"Put some skin in the game!"  When I first heard this one it made me cringe but now I use it all the time. Still, I think it sounds quite unprofessional.
by Copper Contributor
on ‎05-18-2009 02:05 PM
"At this point in time".  Five words and twenty characters when all you have to say is "now".