I’ve been wracking my brain for the last few weeks, trying to work out when people started talking rubbish. Speaking words, but not actually saying anything. Did it start with the rise of the Internet? Is popular culture to blame? Should we look at the influence of the texting generation? Perhaps it was when the BBC began ‘dumbing down’ the news? I don’t have the answer, it’s probably a combination of many things, but what I do know is that I’m sick to death of people speaking in clichés. Did you see what I did there? No, did you really see what I did there? You’re welcome.
I was on the side lines at the weekend watching the next Ronaldo (aka my son) running around like a lunatic playing football. At half time, I sat with a couple of other soccer mums, and apropos of nothing this woman (a complete stranger) said “My husband’s got a really annoying habit of always disappearing when we go out. We’ve been together 24 years and he just goes off and I can never find him.” I was about to suggest that maybe she should take the hint and realise he doesn’t want to be with her. However, there wasn’t time, as she continued, “I’ve suggested we see a councillor to put some scaffolding around this.” I nearly choked on my half time orange. WTF? See, I’m doing it again.
Things got worse. We were doing some holiday planning at home, and I asked the other half if a date had been fixed for a group get together. The response? “I haven’t socialised the idea of meeting at the park for a family picnic.” OMG overuse of many explanations marks! Scaffolding? Socialising? What happen to good old fashioned straight-talking?
I’ve been busy compiling a list of annoying sayings that make me want to spontaneously combust. I thought I should ‘overshare’:
• At the end of the day… what does this actually mean?
• To be honest with you…which suggests at all other times when talking to you I am being dishonest.
• You don’t know what you don’t know. No shit Sherlock!
• The bottom line…are people referring to bum cracks?
• Going forward…as opposed to going backwards?
And the most offensive?
• It is what it is. What the bloody hell else could it be?
Circumnavigating the globe to make a point
So, what has all this got to do with marketing? I guess it comes down to saying what you really mean and dropping the unnecessary crap. Every day I walk past a shop called I AM NOT A BARBER. Every day I wonder what they actually do. They look like a place where hair would be cut. There are sinks and chairs and a rather androgynous looking person who I have seen wielding a pair of scissors. Are they saying I AM NOT A BARBER, I’m a hairdresser? Are they saying, I AM NOT A BARBER, I am more than that? Are they providing a service to men or women or both? I got a clue when they started putting an A-frame board outside saying “Hey dude, haircuts for $25.” I got it. I’m sure their new clientele of well-groomed men now get it.
When thinking about how you tell the world about your brand, product or service be succinct. Keep it simple. Have a clear message, understand who your talking to and frame your words accordingly. Always get an objective person to review your copy, and if you’re not sure what you want to say and how you want to say it, we can help.