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Thursday, March 28, 2013

'Ideation' session, 'key drivers,' 'aligning' the team... the pitfalls of marketing jargon

Please please please!

Do not ever use ideate or ideation in any advertisement, brochure, sentence, headline, email message, photo caption, or sign, no matter who you are writing to, no matter who you are talking to, no matter whether you're at work, at play, in an interview, or asleep.

If you do use one of those ridiculous words, you will confuse some people; you will amuse some people; you will affect your credibility ... in a bad way.

Helen Edwards comments on those words and others in this article from Marketing:

Marketers must ditch the buzzwords and jargon and start to speak in plain English if they want to continue to talk to brands about achieving 'clarity'.
She provides good advice about using align, key drivers, and workshop (as a verb). And here are her comments about ideate:
Yes, I know, it's horrible. Something to do with the 'a' that doubles as the last bit of 'idea' and the first bit of '-ate', a suffix that often connotes something vaguely unpleasant: 'Excuse me, I'm just popping in here to ideate.'
Not that 'ideation' is ever a solus activity. It takes place in groups, in front of a moderator who has failed to grasp that ideas (a) rarely happen in 'sessions', (b) rarely oblige straining, conscious minds, and (c) even more rarely strike people who are not practised creative professionals. Of all the terms in the modern marketer's phrasebook, 'ideate' is the nastiest, combining ugliness of form, falseness of concept and emptiness of hope.
Also, if you want to make your writing easier to read and understand, check out Garbl's Concise Writing Guide. My free guide provides alternatives to overstated, pompous words; wordy, bureaucratic phrases; and verbose, sometimes amusing redundant phrases:
  • Shorter, simpler words
  • Wordy phrase replacements
  • Redundant phrase replacements.
Also visit Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It can help improve your writing skills by using plain English techniques:
  • Focusing on your reader and purpose
  • Organizing your ideas
  • Writing clear, effective paragraphs
  • Writing clear, simple sentences
  • Using suitable words
  • Creating an enticing design
  • Testing for clarity.
Edwards' article is featured today, March 28, in my daily online paper,
Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs, available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

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