Far too often, as if they’ve pulled terms from a cliche-word-generator, an organisation’s first most important message is meaningless.
Their 2-10 word opening story – as a value proposition, slogan, tagline – fails.
It fizzles instead of flying, is a three cent mess, rather than being a Million Dollar Message.
And instead of inspiring more action such as further exploration of a website, being a touchstone for other storytelling and communications, or acting as an internal rallying call, it is simply insipid.
Very often, too often, the reason for message mediocrity is because bland and generic words have been used. There’s no metaphor(s). There’s only mismatched collections of verbs and nouns.
Seven words to banish from your value proposition
So, here’s Punchline’s seven sinning words – terms that should be banished in any story that kicks off explaining what your product or service is all about.
‘solutions‘ – we all provide solutions, solve a problem of some kind or other. At the very least, tell me what kind of headache you fix. (An exception might be a chemical company…some of their products might actually be as a ‘solution’!)
‘delivering’ – bland, a cop-out expression that’s neither here nor there.
‘innovation/innovative’ – very few businesses, unless they happen to be traditional is not going to be innovative. If you’re saying it, you probably aren’t.
‘collaborative’ – what service provider isn’t going to be collaborative? You can’t work independently of who you’re supplying to. A waste of a word.
‘authentic’ – as opposed to inauthentic? Surely it is a given for any business.
‘intelligent’ – yawn. A term hopefully used by your clients when talking about your product or service, but a word that feels forced when you use it yourself.
These words, and I could’ve thrown in ‘sustainable’, ‘synergy/ise’ and ’empower’, devalue rather than contribute to your Million Dollar Message.
Run away from them.
However, I’m sure I’ve missed some other obvious ones. What other terms should be nowhere near your value proposition?