Back in the “When Bonnie was Bad” days we used to go to wine tastings to see if we could capture a really good, and more importantly, free buzz. Since we never knew what to say (there were alot of wine connoisseurs there with all these fancy sayings) we made up a phrase. As we knowingly twirled the “legs” on the glass, we’d exclaim, “My, it’s oblique without being obtrusive, don’t you think?”
I still don’t quite know what those words mean but put together I’m certain they mean absolutely nothing. That’s what happens at companies when the entire management team spends hours polishing tag lines, talking points and mission statements. Instead of providing a simple, succinct way of saying what they do and how they do it, we get a scrambed version of corporate gobbledygook that no one understands, least of all a customer. ( If you’re really into this topic, visit copyblogger.)
If you’re a consulting firm, say “We’re a consulting firm that specializes in project management,” not “ years of experience helping clients around the world use their IT investments to drive innovation, productivity and growthto achieve higher performance. ” I especially like this one from an ad agency “Our clients’ needs drive the skill sets and expertise areas we develop. At times, we’re an ad agency. Other times, we’re an integrated strategic marketing firm. A graphic design firm. A best-in-class employer brand consultancy. A market research company. A strategic media placement firm.” HUH?
It’s almost as if they think being vague guarantees they will have to call to find out what you do? Or the second example where it’s clear they’ll do whatever you want, although not so clear how they can do all that stuff and do it well.
Take your taglines and phrases and go home and say them to someone who is smart, and see if they know what you’re talking about. If not, go back to the drawing board.
$100 to anyone who can identify the companies that have those phrases on their websites. FIRST ONE IS SUPER EASY!