Ah, Buzzwords. We’ve all used them. If you were around in the late 90s, you paradigm shifted, thought out-of-the-box and even tried to cross the chasm. Now you look back at your words like they were a mullet haircut or polyester bell-bottoms, blushing as you tell a younger co-worker, “They were all the rage at the time.”
So, what will we be looking back at in a few years and denying we ever said?
Recently a young man who was hired by a local agency was quoted as saying that he helps “ideate non-traditional concepts…” and that he likes to “prototype digital innovations.” Yes, he used “prototype” as a verb and ignored the fact that “non-traditional” and “innovation” are synonymous. But he is a victim, like the rest of us, of trying to explain what we do in a new and captivating way.
So, for all you fellow disruptors and story tellers, let’s take a break from our brand journey, kick off our shoes and talk about what we really do in plain English. Words matter, and when we make up vague or invented terminology, it diminishes the importance of what we deliver for clients. Here’s what I think we do:
We fill gaps.
If there’s a gap between what an organization is and what an audience perceives, bang! we fill that gap.
That’s it.
We can’t fix operations, or improve a product or eliminate internal politics. To do our jobs, we basically need to know three things: 1) What are we saying? 2) To whom are we saying it? 3) Why should they care?
To find the answers we use a process, for which we have developed loads of “proprietary” terms. Essentially the process is this: 1) Learn everything we can about the client and the industry. 2) Learn everything we can about the audience. 3) Generate a plan, ideas and execution to fill the gap. 4) Measure to make sure we got it right.
You can extrapolate that process and add, mobile first, analytics, client-centric and, of course, solutions-based if there’s a client that needs some more convincing. Well, that little break was refreshing. I have to go ideate some non-traditional innovations.