Your App is Not [Insert Buzzword Here]


Buzzwords can be a bane when it comes to delivering your company’s message clearly. As these same words are used ad infinitum, they begin to lose impact and eventually lose all meaning. Ad Age columnist Simon Dumenco identifies some of the worst buzzwords of the year.

Indeed, every year there are words that enter the public consciousness and usage spirals out of control. All of a sudden everyone is talking about a fiscal cliff and the fact that YOLO. This phenomenon goes double for the tech industry, which scatters buzzwords into press releases like sprinkles on donuts.

Dumenco’s list includes eight of the worst offenders:

  • Artisan
  • Authentic/Authenticity
  • Curated/Curation/Curator
  • Disruption/Disruptive/Disruptor
  • DNA
  • Game-Changing/Game-Changer
  • Guru
  • Mission
  • All of these words largely point to the inflated sense of importance that many press releases come with. Very rarely is an app truly a disruptor, or a game-changer. Anonymous apps, or apps that provide greater security of privacy are the worst offenders for buzzwords. Case in point: Ello. While it may sound revolutionary — with its mission — users are posting pictures and short text-based messages just like almost every other network.

    And referring to yourself as a curator is asinine, given that anyone with a Pinterest account can ‘curate’ content. Image-sharing sites are essentially factories that strip out authorship, attribution and context.

    DNA and mission largely fall into the same category of uselessness. To say that honesty, authenticity and privacy are core to your mission or part of your company’s DNA is to pretend that your product isn’t really a product, but a high-minded idea that costs money. Almost every endeavor with stockholders will eventually compromise its mission statement in favor of profits or some metric that is now more important.

    Buzzwords don’t lend any weight or clarity to your company’s claims. More often than not, all these words will do is cloud your message and cause your product to be filed away with all the other “innovative, disruptive, mission-driven, game-changers.” To truly make your product stand out, state its benefits honestly, and tell the audience what problem it solves.

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