Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Best of Barry: The War of the Words

Originally posted MONDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2009

With all the corporate speak and acronyms that we face everyday, we have to focus on simplicity. Even the best intentions will be undermined if we use different words and acronyms to say similar things.

Picture this:

1) You're a manufacturer and you have created 40 different programs that your sales channel uses for training their employees, to improve their performance, and to market to their customers.
2) You have 10 different suppliers as well a half dozen internal teams dealing with that sales channel daily, weekly and/or monthly.
3) The various programs are not stand-alones, they have connection with each other and in many cases, deal with the exact same issues.

Let's assume all 40 programs are smart and they are not redundant. Let's say, in fact, they are brilliant programs, invaluable to the sales channel. Then why aren't they working? Why aren't they a rousing success?

The answer: The War of the Words. If we aren't obsessively focused on clarity and simplicity, those numerous programs will each contain their own language. In some cases they also create new acronyms, sometimes clever and catchy ones. For example: we might call our customers: end-users, clients, consumers, buyers, purchasers, commiters, loyalists, and the list goes on.

There must be a common, simple language communicated when there are so many programs being sent out. In fact, I have a challenge for any of us involved with such activities:

Let's NOT add to the confusion--let's create no more acronyms or catch-words to the communications. Go even farther and ask, can we reduce the terms used by 20%?

Put yourself in the shoes of the sales channel in this instance. How would you feel if there were no more additional acronyms and instead, there were fewer terms, no redundancy, and a simpler message? It could only help.

It's time to win the War of the Words.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

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