Weasel words. At McLellan Marketing Group, we use that term for the buzz words that people use when they don’t know what to say. It’s almost like a magician’s slight of hand. If I use these words, you won’t recognize that I’m not really saying anything.
Yesterday, I held up a mission statement that sounds like thousands of mission statements on corporate walls across the business world. Word like "market leader" and "exemplary service" are pretty but meaningless.
David Reich adds food for thought in his post Ban the E-Word. David points to the overuse of the word engagement and how it used to be a word that had meaning. But now its been tossed on the pile with empowerment, paradigm and innovation.
Contrast those weasel words with this simple but meaning packed sentence. It comes from the values statement of one of our clients (they wrote these themselves, so we’re not patting ourselves on the back.)
"Fun provides energy for success." I not only understood every word…but it gives me a sense of who they are. And what they’d be like to work with.
I think people use weasel words because they are at a loss. They feel like they need to fill space or deflect our attention. Or that somehow we won’t think they’re legit if they talk like regular people. They’re afraid they won’t measure up. They won’t be good enough.
They have a brand inferiority complex.
Mark True brings this point home in his elegant post Is Your Brand Sincere. Mark talks about how a sincere brand is not a perfect brand. And in fact, sincerity begs us to show the cracks along with the beauty.
Are you confident enough in your brand to let us see the cracks?