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We're not big fans of jargon and PR speak on this blog, and we did round up some of our least favourite words and phrases a few years ago. 

We also have a banned words and phrases section in our blog style guide, which aims to keep godawful phrases like 'paradigm shift' and synergies' off the pages of this blog. 

People keep coming up with this guff though, so I've listed some further crimes against the English language... 

In no particular order... 

Fanbassador: A fan of a brand who acts in an ambassadorial way. (Thanks to @CraigLeGrice for this one). 

Shoptimization: how apps can be used to optimise the in-store shopping experience for the consumer, usually by reducing costs.

Digi-tail: augmented reality and other digital stuff in-store to boost the shopping experience.

Wearable multitasking: "Watches that socially connect, work as credit cards and have games on them" - basically, wearable technology.

Fashionizing: making normal objects fashionable. Diet Coke being branded with Jean Paul Gaultier was an example.

Shoppertainment: "new brand experiences and memorable entertainment" in-store and online, such as IKEA holding a slumber party.

Mocial: Yes, it's mobile and social. 

Data is the new (soil): A bastardisation of Gerd Leonhard's phrase, explained here. Someone actually used this (skip to 6:50 in this video). "Data is the new soil..in which our ideas will grow". Pass me the bucket...

Phablet: basically, big smartphones which aren't quite tablets. Do we really need a word for this?  

Pivot: when a startup decides that a change of business model is needed. 

Value add: or, in plain English, added value. 

Omnichannel: yes, we've used this word on the blog, but what's wrong with multichannel?

Learnings: as in lessons learned. Learnings isn't a word.  

Reach out: commonly used by PRs. "I'm reaching out to you with the news that..."

Swim lane: a phrase for a person's area of responsibility within a business. 

We also asked our Twitter followers for some of the words and phrases they dislike.

Here are some of the best responses: 

 Which PR speak do you despise? Let us know below... 

Graham Charlton

Published 1 February, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (45)

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Ann B Logger

We are crying laughing and groaning at all these on a daily basis we are sent press releases which are filled with this drivel and yet some how miss out the facts like name of brand or website etc

I think most bloggers feel like Rapunzel trying to spin gold out of S**** ......

over 3 years ago

John Callaghan

John Callaghan, Digital Marketing Consultant at CTI Digital

Every time I hear one of those phrases (and many more) used in context without humour. A little piece of me dies inside.

Econsultancy should run a poll, numbers and percentages might encourage offenders to adjust their vocabulary.

over 3 years ago

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Anna Dilphy

Please also stop with the copious use of Ideation , Vapour trail ( the legacy of previous branding initiatives ) or Insight liberation( a wordy label for Infographics) too commonly used in innovation consultancy that pretend they one day will be the new Bain and McKinsey of this world.
Brand language is about simple, relatable copy not jargon

over 3 years ago

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Keith Trivitt

"Omnichannel" is by far the worst marketing jargon around right now. It has no meaning, other than being a different and more pretentious way of saying "multichannel," which in itself has little meaning outside of marketing. Worse, it seems to be often used by marketers to describe campaigns in which they are doing little innovative from what was done in the past but they want it to sound cool and new, so they slap "omnichannel" in front as a descriptor and the client goes wild.

over 3 years ago

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Nick Stanoulis

Sometimes I think we just like to make up words to feel more important! It's frustrating enough as a marketer but how does a small business owner feel? They barely get a handle on this year's new jargon before everything changes again.

over 3 years ago

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Alex Griffiths

I abbreviate Hard To Reach Groups to HTR and have started using it to mean anything that's a tad challenging.

So the new member of staff finds making coffee "a bit HTR."

Oh the shame.

over 3 years ago

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Patricia Haag

English is such a malleable language that you will just have to keep a running column of bad combinations. This wouldn't happen in French.

I use "reach(ing)out" a lot now. It was a phrase that was preferred by the big corporation that I worked for. I never liked using it, but I had to and then it just finally started feeling normal.

over 3 years ago

Paul Sykes

Paul Sykes, Business Development Manager at MediaCo (UK) Ltd

Is it me or anyone that describes themsleves as an SEO/social maven asking for it?

Cheers

Paul

over 3 years ago

Andrew Atkins

Andrew Atkins, Managing Director at Resonant Digital Ltd

4 of the worst offenders in my eyes are already in the list, but what about the awful SoLoMo as the lazy and probably short-lived term for social, local and mobile. Serial offenders include the erstwhile SES Conferences.
Cheers,
Andy

over 3 years ago

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Jennie Wood

I'm a PR daring to speak out here - we're an easy target! ;-)

I neither recognise any of these nor have witnessed their use. This language abuse is pretty prolific in the corporate world, but is not flaunted by public relations departments alone.

over 3 years ago

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David Smallman, CEO at DVsmall Marketing

I'm sick of hearing and reading "rinse and repeat"

over 3 years ago

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Pleiades

Curate: a clergyman in charge of a parish. Curating content? I want to scream. Although the Internet is now considered to be the new God...something Neil Gaiman (author of American Gods) might appreciate.

over 3 years ago

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Dominic Hiatt

Oh FFS. Yes, we all know there are no end of moronic terms in use but the people who bang on about them and write sneering garbage like this should be publicly flogged. Nobody hates PR speak more than I do but come on, write something original or hang up your fingers.

over 3 years ago

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Dafydd Prichard

My company (a digital agency), works very closely with a number of PR agencies. It's always struck me that the higher you go within a company's management structure, the less waffle you deal with - reinforcing the belief that it's often used to mask proper understanding. A junior exec once told me that their client's customers were 'channel agnostic' - which meant they were as happy to use a mobile, social or the web.

over 3 years ago

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Mutesa Sithole

Hilarious! Learnings and value add are unbelievably nonsensical, and believably overused. Some of the words remind me of the lingo used in Stewart the 'blue-sky-thinking' Director of Communications for the Cabinet Office in the Thick of It. Sneak a peak at 'thought camp' http://youtu.be/_Vnx4QDXj7I

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Dominic It was a bit of fun for a Friday. We write plenty of original stuff. You didn't have to click on the link after all...

over 3 years ago

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Neale Gilhooley

Makes me want to laugh and cry simultaneously. All I can add is that these vacuous phrases are the threads of the emperors' new clothes being woven.

And thanks to @Paul Sykes as I did have an online forum 'spat' with a guy who did call himself a Maven and he meant it.

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Funnily enough, I received a press release today from a firm which has introduced a 'buzzword checker' for PRs: http://www.1238kmh.com/buzzsaw.htm

over 3 years ago

Stewart Longhurst

Stewart Longhurst, Director at V1 Digital

Being told that we should "fish where the fish are" does it for me - no s**t sherlock!

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@ Stewart That's a new one for me...

over 3 years ago

Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

I had a good laugh at all of these -- but then I remembered a recent conversation I had with a non-marketing 'civilian'.

He had to ask me to explain five different terms. Reminded me how much nasty jargon seeps its way into one's vocabulary.

I fear a lot of terms we use everyday would make it on to someone else's 'Pseud's Corner'. Starting with 'Content'.

over 3 years ago

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Megan Toogood, Copywriter / Marketing Consultant at Maverick Publishing Specialists

I wouldn't want a phablet but I bet there'd be a market for a fablet - same thing but with sequins.

over 3 years ago

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Owen Williams

Bemused that you included the tweets as a pile of PNGs rather than embedding them!
Surely the embed feature defines the "social" media aspect of Twitter?
:-)

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Owen I wanted to embed, and agree it would have been better, but the vagaries of our blog meant this wasn't possible.

over 3 years ago

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Wordbird

"Learnings" drives me insane, especially when letters home from my kid's school use the word 'learnings'. Wrong for so many reasons.

over 3 years ago

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Harry

I'm not sure this is limited to PR/Social Media: digital in general is guilty of some howlers.

Perhaps I'm too much of a purist, but I loathe 'leverage' & 'impact' used as verbs (the verb 'to impact' used to relate only to faecal matter in the intestine becoming clogged together) and as someone else has commented above, non-words like 'impactful' only serve to highlight a poor grasp of English, which has plenty of provoking, effective, inspirational, meaningful, expressive and stimulating synonyms that will sound much better in a pitch than 'impactful'.

over 3 years ago

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Kim Hollamby

Please spare us all from 'diarise' (or presumably as some would have it 'diarize') - every time I hear that I fear I am being forward scheduled for a touch of tummy trouble.

over 3 years ago

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Elaine Comyn

Brilliantly cringeworthy. Although I have used 'Learnings' for which I am now very sorry. Can I add "Visioning" - what? "Dial up" - ehhh? ( think it means look in your files?) "Playback" (tell somebody something they just told me I think) -seriously?

over 3 years ago

Hayden Sutherland

Hayden Sutherland, Director at Ideal Interface

Learnings - I'm guilty of using that one myself quite often. I guess the long-handed version of "many lessons learnt" does sound better.

over 3 years ago

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Adrian Brophy

"I think we should sidebar this conversation" - heard from a Californian PR colleague last week. Brilliant!

over 3 years ago

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Andrew Short

I'm ancient enough to remember when "metric" would have been on this list. Just goes to show you can never tell what usage will become accepted, going forward...

over 3 years ago

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Sarah Alder

But don't forget, there used to be bitter complaints that "browsing is what you do in a book shop not on a computer" and " how hard is it to spell out 'electronic mail'?"

Be on your guard Graham, in a year or so you may be synergising your omnichannels mocially and not a bucket in sight!

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@ Sarah Perhaps you're right, though I'll never use 'synergies' ;:

over 3 years ago

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Vikki Fraser

I personally can't stand "Moving the Needle" - ie. We need to move the needle on revenues in this category. Gah!

over 3 years ago

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Manchester PR

I must be losing touch as I only use one: value add. And I only hear teh "reach out" occasionally

Obviously need to put this jargon alongside my attempts to learn Spanish before it evolve sinto another language

over 3 years ago

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Faye Hawkins

Awful phrase from PR client recently = "Line fishing not trawling" and if I hear that 'content is king' one more time I will combust.

over 3 years ago

Ian Jindal

Ian Jindal, Founder and Editor in Chief at Internet RetailingSmall Business Multi-user

@graham "I wanted to embed" sounds suspiciously like a variant of "reaching out" with an idea. An impactful idea. For your head...

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Ian Yes, I don't think I use too many buzzwords, but my wife gives me some strange looks sometimes...

over 3 years ago

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Adam

I know it's slightly off the main topic, as it's not strictly marketing jargon, but bastardisations of words - like FRENEMY (you know what you've done Sorrell) - bother me.

And, frankly, nothing makes me want to reach for the bat and start swinging it more that being told to CHILLAX - aaaarrrrggghhh - the horror.

over 3 years ago

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Shamus

I'm surprised DAES (Diversity Alignment Empowerment Strategy)didn't make the cut.

over 3 years ago

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Stuart McCarthy

1) In a word? Impactful.
2) When a government communications office refers to other parts of the government department or ministry as the "client". There is only one client when government is involved - taxpayers!

over 3 years ago

Paul Sykes

Paul Sykes, Business Development Manager at MediaCo (UK) Ltd

@Faye Hawkins - We use Content is King a lot, however in our defence, a few years ago, my colleague David Mill wrote a book on writing and editing online. ... Title of this book? 'Content is King' As true today as it has ever been.

over 3 years ago

Graeme Fraser

Graeme Fraser, Marketing Director, EMEA at Liquidity Services

There was a hash of social, local and mobile doing the rounds last year. Something awful like SoLoMo.

over 3 years ago

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Karen Canty

'Adventure Capitalist' is pretty low rent - if that was my job title, I'd cry on the way to work every day.

over 3 years ago

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almay292

I'm pleased to see that I'm not the only 'content' hater. Mind you I'd rather Content became king than Charles.

'Sticky content' sounds like something unspeakable found in a used envelope

I'm also bored hearing 'social', with or without media, used as if it describes an entirely new concept. And Digital - definitely confusing the medium with the message.

It's the talismanic power accorded to these words that I find most irritating.

I agree that PR and marketing is an easy target - but, hey, we bring it on ourselves. Anybody else share my distaste for banking and finance jargon?

about 3 years ago

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