Buzzwords have always been quick to catch the attention of the public. They are like bright, shiny trinkets that draw you nearer, though you know they’ll fade in a few days. There’s a fair share of buzzwords in the tech business community that are all the rage right now, like blockchain, omnichannel, Web 3, NFT, big data, and crypto.
They catch people’s attention and start conversations. They can even make your business look trendy and modern. But the forced use of buzzwords has its disadvantages. Here are some you should consider and suggestions on what you can do instead.
It can kill your credibility
Take the recent blockchain frenzy, for example. A cursory Google search shows that there are over 81 million entries indexed in that category. While many companies are firmly in the domain of decentralized ledgers, there are others just riding the buzzword roller coaster.
Take the situation uncovered in China, for instance. Thousands of companies were found to adopt the word “blockchain” in their messaging without using the technology in any way. Over 32,000 companies claimed to be blockchain based, but only 10% of them or less actually used the technology in their products. Many of the 90% were just hopping on a rising wave they thought would help their business, while some were pyramid schemes and outright scams.
Positioning themselves as a blockchain company might have helped them gain initial traction, but they lost goodwill quickly when people found out it was fake.
Great companies flourish by building trust over time, not masquerading as things they aren’t. Think McDonald’s, Times, Mercedes — these companies weathered several storms and are still standing strong. They aren’t jumping on every bandwagon or pretending to be something they aren’t. They are building businesses people can trust.
It can confuse your audience
Buzzwords can build momentum, and create excitement, but they can also confuse your audience.
If your offering is for an audience looking for something simple, rustic or traditional, then tagging on buzzwords in your messaging can confuse them.
And what happens when folks are confused? They leave and never come back.
Imagine Uber saying they are offering ‘taxis on a blockchain.’ Or McDonald’s saying they are selling ‘crypto chicken nuggets.’ They would quickly confuse and alienate their audience.
Words mean things. According to the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test, the average comprehension of most audiences is at the 10-year-old level or lower. Adopting buzzwords is more likely to confuse than impress them.
Aim to communicate with your audience instead. Go extra miles to ensure your message is clear and compelling. Remember: good client messaging is directed to their brain, but speaks to their hearts. Communicate, don’t alienate.
It can make you look stale
The buzzwords of today aren’t the ones of tomorrow. By nature, buzzwords are designed to be new, shiny, and short-lived. You can hop onto the trend and gain some immediate popularity, but it could backfire badly.
Just because everyone seems to be doing something right now doesn’t mean it will last, or that it’s right for you and your business. Messaging that focuses on delivering value and meeting needs will stand the test of time. Messages that just want to hop on a new craze are likely to be forgotten quickly.
It can alienate you from your true fans
One of the tragedies of life is pretending to be something and missing those who were looking for who you really are.
When you use the wrong language, your target audience might not even recognize you.
For instance, if you sell office equipment or gardening tools, positioning yourself as a “Web 3 Machinery Supply Ninja” or “Blockchain Agricultural Implement Distro” will simply fly over your potential customers’ heads.
They won’t see you. They won’t find you on the Internet. You’ll be invisible on Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other amazing platforms where people are finding their tribe and curating value.
Why? Because that’s not how your audience speaks and that’s not the language they use.
However, if you are creating a new SaaS product built with a decentralized ledger for authenticating rare art targeting a wealthy, urban, Gen Z audience, then it would make sense to use Web 3 and blockchain liberally in your messages.
Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience, your product, your positioning and communicating effectively.
What should you do instead?
Instead of tagging buzzwords all willy-nilly on your offerings or company marketing, it is best to focus on the value you provide and the people you serve.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right messaging:
- Go where your audience is and use the language they use.
- Check out competitors in your space and borrow a page or two from their messaging playbook.
- Focus on the essence of your business and not on passing fads.
- Keep testing and trying new things until you get results.
- Don’t be afraid to rebrand if your old approach isn’t working anymore.
It’s tempting to be part of new trends, but they can hurt you if they aren’t appropriate. Think twice before slapping a trendy new tag onto your brand. Remember, the best businesses outlive trends. Instead, focus on creating value and reaching the people you want to serve.
What do you think? Should every business find a way to hop on the “Web 3 Blockchain Bandwagon”? Let us know in the comments.
Looking to launch a new product? Unpluggd Digital provides services in SaaS and Blockchain development and we LOVE building awesome ideas.