Conversely, we would sometimes challenge each other to avoid certain words (like “GRP” in a media presentation), and the loser had to pay for drinks in the pub afterwards. Anyone who has gone drinking with British colleagues knows that you don’t want to be the loser of that challenge, especially on a Friday afternoon.
Today I want to challenge you with that second option: words to never use again in your presentations and meetings, with punishment if you do. Here are my top five:
5. “New news.” What does this even mean, as opposed to just “news,” which consequently isn’t new? Using this stupid saying should be punished by paying for lunch or bringing in donuts for the whole department.
4. “Negative growth.” If it is trending negative, it is not growth. People uttering this should be financially punished, so they can experience some negative growth in their net wallet value. Is $5 per violation fair? Put the money someplace akin to a swear jar.
3. “First, second and/or third screen.” When I am commuting on the train, my mobile or tablet is my first screen. When I am working in the office, my desktop is my first screen. When I am working on the road, my laptop and/or tablet is my first screen. When I am watching the World Cup this summer, TV will be my first screen, and my tablet or phone my companion screen. When I am on a plane, sometimes the window is my first screen. There is no defined first, second or third. The only screen that matters is the screen right in front of the consumer. Kick people out of the room or conference call when they suggest a “second-screen strategy.”
2. "Digital strategy." Asking for a digital strategy, or trying to create one, is like saying you’re going to “do” advertising. I like paraphrasing someone much smarter than me (mainly you, Rishad Tobaccowala): It is not about having a digital strategy, but a consumer-centric strategy in a digital world.
Let’s agree that from now on, when prompted, you will say that you don’t have one, don’t want one and won’t develop a digital strategy. If you lose your job as a result, you’re probably better off not working there in the first place.
1. “Mobile strategy.” If you have figured out what your connection strategy in a digital world will be, you have by default figured out how you will ensure it connects with your consumers regardless of screen and platform (see #3 of the banned words). If the presentation or the plan does not address this, you should first fire the agency and then yourself.
I am working hard to get these words eradicated from meetings and presentations with marketing people. Now I’m curious to hear which words you propose to ban, and what punishment you would like to level against violators.