Thursday, April 5, 2007

Communication Blasphemy

In my five years in the telecom industry, I have developed quite the allergy to certain words.

I sit in a briefing or a brainstorming session and I cringe at the sound of certain words used across all products, services, product managers, marketing people, even ad agency reps (who think they understand the industry). These washed-out words should be banned from the telecom industry; and more so in telecom advertising.

Some words have embedded themselves in the jargon of telecom services advertising and have become synonymous with vomit-inducing headlines like ‘the art of’.

Among these words are:
1. Efficient
2. Convenient
3. Get more (as each telco considers this as a soft blow on competition)
4. Innovation
5. Peace of mind
6. More for less
7. Customer experience
8. Better value

Here is an example:
“Mobile email is a very efficient service because it lets you access your email while on the go, whereas it is also convenient because you should not be stuck in one place; it allows you to get more things done at the same time and it is extremely innovative. Wouldn’t you like to have peace of mind, and not worry about being at your desk all the time? Mobile email offer better value to customers, and enhances the overall customer experience

Did you understand anything about the service? These ‘filler’ words are used by telecom people to make briefs have more text and look descriptive mostly to cover the ignorance of the people writing them. If the chocolate industry can differentiate the positioning between Snickers and Mars, the least telco people should do is clearly diversify their services’ positioning.

If the clichĂ© term of ‘out of the box’ is to apply, these words would be in the wood used in the manufacturing of such a box.


Brenda Kassir said...

Very good. I particularly cringe at 'good value' and 'customer experience'.

I think some people memorise certain marketing 101 phrases to make them seem in-the-know. In reality very few companies in the M.E (certanly none I work with) are doing any of the advanced analytics and modelling that determine the meaning of 'good value' to their customers and, don't even get me started on the shoddy practices of 'customer experiences'.


fk said...

Thx, I'm going to push for fighting these conformities at least in the agency I work in, maybe at the most basic level by having signs in our conference rooms banning the use of such words. It would be a discreet way to teach clients what sort of vocab to use, and eventually get the ball rolling internally.
On the up-side without these words we can easily cut 30minutes from any meeting (internal brainsorming or client presentation).