13 Brand Buzzwords to Nix From Your Vocabulary


What is one word or phrase you’d like to see brands stop using to describe themselves? Why?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Darrah Brustein1. “One-Stop Shop”

You are not a one-stop shop! You excel at one or maybe a couple things. You water down your impact and your brand when you think that making a blanket statement is benefiting your marketing. Be confident to own what you are the best at, and don’t claim you do it all!   – Darrah BrusteinNetwork Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids

David Ehrenberg2. “Disruptive”

Disruptive. The word just needs to be retired. Focus instead on actually conveying what customer problem your business exists to solve and how you and your team can do it better than anyone else. Demonstrating passion and relevance helps users (and investors) connect the dots.   – David EhrenbergEarly Growth Financial Services

john rampton3. “Innovative”

We all know if you’re innovative or not by how you explain your company. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you’ve got something amazing. You don’t have to tell us. Yes, your product is the coolest thing since sliced cheese… but we don’t need to hear about it every time you pitch your story.   –John RamptonJohnRampton.com

Basha Rubin4. “The X of Y”

Everyone wants to be the “Uber/AirBnB/Twitter of Y.” By describing your company as intrinsically relative to another, you can limit (a)your own creativity, and (b) how others perceive you. The most successful startups — especially marketplaces — are ones that actually dive deep into the peculiarities of their own industry.   – Basha RubinPriori Legal

Kenny Nguyen5. “Guru”

Please stop saying stuff like you’re a social media guru or ninja. As my buddy says, “the louder you are, the more you are trying to prove yourself.” Let the work do the talk and the clients do the talking for you.   – Kenny NguyenBig Fish Presentations

Andrew Hoeft6. “Game Changer”

Every new product or service could be classified as a game changer if it is slightly different than what is available on the market. Instead of using time in your quick pitch to tell people your idea is a game changer, spend the time telling us about the problem you solve, how you solve it and where you are at today. Let the proof be in the pudding.   – Andrew HoeftPinpoint Software, Inc.

Natalie MacNeil7. “Authentic”

If you have to point out to people that you’re really “authentic,” there’s a problem. I’ll decide for myself if I think you and your business are authentic.   –Natalie MacNeilShe Takes on the World

Alexandra Levit 28. “Best in Class”

Unless you are objectively the market leader, you are probably not the best in class. Brands are better off showcasing real, tangible benefits customers have received and letting those benefits speak for themselves.   – Alexandra LevitInspiration at Work

Josh Fuhr9. “Global”

The past generation of entrepreneurs feels the need to artificially inflate their footprint and show themselves as “global” or “national” with offices in all the major cities. Young people can see right through that and the push is to work more locally if possible so it’s actually counterproductive to making sales.   –Josh FuhrAuditrax

jared-brown10. “Crushing” Anything

This needs to stop being used — if anyone ever uses it, it usually means the opposite. Real words to use to talk about success are active, particular, and relevant to your business niche, like, “We’re developing a suite of elegant social media tools” instead of “We’re crushing social media.” Unless you’re actually taking an object and applying force to reduce its size… you’re not crushing it.   – Jared BrownHubstaff

Brian Honigman11. “Innovative”

Apple’s website never (or rarely) uses the word “innovative.” It’s the first word that springs to mind when describing the company yet they never say it about themselves. That’s because innovation speaks for itself. It’s like being cool — you don’t get to decide if you’re cool; other people do. The second you start calling yourself innovative, people begin to doubt it.   – Brian HonigmanBrianHonigman.com

Firas Kittaneh12. “Alternative”

The word “alternative” is extremely vague; what exactly is the company or product the alternative to? If it is the alternative to the brand’s perception of the status quo, then it would be more prudent for the brand to use more descriptive, creative words to enhance value to the name.   – Firas KittanehAmerisleep

dave-nevogt13. “Scrappy”

Take the “s” off the beginning, and that’s exactly what this word conveys to potential investors, customers and employees. Most people who are starting a new company begin small, but that’s not a bragging point. Use adjectives that convey the authority and trust you need to build up in the beginning, and most importantly, follow through with actions on your part to create those values.   – Dave NevogtHubstaff.com

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career


Add These Five Word ‘Magnets’ to Your Marketing and Sales Vocabulary


This article is based on an excerpt from the book Life’s a Pitch: Understanding the Secrets to Selling From Television’s Billion Dollar Man.

Words. They can be powerful, passionate, and—when used correctly in marketing and sales communications and presentations—extremely profitable.

Have you ever wondered why some of the same “power words” keep showing up in advertising messages year after year?

  • “Act Now!”
  • “Limited Time Only!”
  • “Money Back Guarantee!”
  • “Time’s Running Out!”
  • “Six Brand New Features!”
  • And so on…

The fact is, words are a powerful part of marketing and selling.

Selling Is a Process… and Words Are a Powerful Part of That Process

It doesn’t matter whether it’s taking place on TV or in person, selling is a process composed of several layers, each designed to increase the connection between you and the customer.

For instance, when I’m pitching something on radio or television, every time I do something effective, people in the audience get a little closer to the telephone. And after each effective step of the process, they get closer and closer to that phone until they pick it up and respond. And that’s natural. It’s all part of a process.

I wish I could tell you that there’s one magic word that will make somebody buy something. There isn’t. But there are certain words that will enhance the process.

Seven of them, to be exact. Here, we present five of those word magnets.

Marketing Magnets

George Carlin gained instant notoriety back in the 70s with his “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television” bit. But there are seven words you CAN say to create an indelible connection with a potential customer? I call them my “Seven Marketing Magnets” because, as I explained a few moments ago, every time you use one of them—for the right reasons, at the right time—you draw people a little closer to you, like a magnet.

The connection becomes stronger, and the temptation to buy from you greater. Which is not to say that more is more in this case. In other words, don’t just arbitrarily string these words together, piling them on or (for heaven’s sake) using them randomly—or even interchangeably.

Each word is calculated to highlight the benefits of the particular product, service, or idea you’re presenting. That is their power: Each means something very specific to whoever hears them.

Remember, the ultimate goal is a response. Hopefully, the response of a sale, but short of that the response might be in the form of interest, curiosity, enthusiasm, a personal connection with you, a renewed interest in what you’re presenting, etc.

That’s why these words are so effective: They evoke strong responses in your listeners, each in its own way.

The First Marketing Magnet: ‘New’ or ‘Exclusive’

The first marketing magnet is “new,” or “exclusive.” Those are great words; I get excited just typing them… they’re filled with so much potential. Now, either word could describe any of the following:

  • A price you’re offering: “Enjoy our new, reduced price for a limited time…”
  • A special ingredient you’re using: “Try our new combination of lime and pomegranate seed.”
  • A part of a service you’re offering: “Enjoy our exclusive steam-cleaning solution…”
  • A special online offer: “Download an extra chapter of this NEW bestseller exclusively on Amazon.com…”
  • And so on…

That’s a pretty impressive list, and you can of course personalize it for whatever “new” or “exclusive” features and benefits you’re offering. But even powerful, profitable, magnetic words can become less effective when used nonstop. So don’t just say, “New,” “New,” “Exclusive,” “New,” all the time. Spice your sales pitch up with the following other ways to say the same thing:

  • Innovative
  • The latest
  • State of the art
  • Revolutionary (use only when referring to a patented or patent-pending product)
  • High-tech
  • Designed for today’s ________________
  • Adds a whole new dimension to _______________
  • Here’s an exciting way to ____________________
  • And so on…

The Second Marketing Magnet: ‘Fast’

The Third Marketing Magnet: ‘Quick’

The Fourth Marketing Magnet: ‘Easy’

Our second, third, and fourth marketing magnets are the words “fast,” “quick,” and “easy.” I combine them because they really share the same spirit—of modern convenience and benefits that really appeal to the way we live our lives today.

The Internet and other high technology have spoiled us so that we can’t wait for anything anymore. We want it all, and we want it now… We want it fast, quick, and easy.

Now, these words can be used individually, of course, but I tend to lump them together when I’m making a presentation because they work so well in combination.

So, in this case, fast, quick, and easy could refer to…

  • Results you want the customer to achieve: “Drying your hair has never been faster with our breakthrough technology!”
  • The application of something: “The fastest, quickest, easiest way to wash your car, spot-free!”
  • Pointing out a product feature: “With our age-defying product, looking younger has never been easier or quicker than this!”
  • Creating an added benefit: “With our product, you’ll discover how easy it is to _______________.”
  • After-purchase care: “Our platinum customer service is fast, quick, and easy, all day, every day.”
  • And so on…

Naturally, even three marketing magnets like “fast,” “quick,” and “easy” can get overplayed, so here are some handy alternatives that are equally effective:

  • Step by step
  • As easy as 1, 2, 3
  • Immediate results
  • Ready to use
  • Wash and wear
  • Set it and forget it
  • And so on…

The Fifth Marketing Magnet: ‘Guarantee’

Our fifth marketing magnet is one you hear quite often, particularly on late-night TV: “guarantee.” As powerful as this word is, you have to be very, very careful when using it.

For instance, you just can’t guarantee certain results, such as “With our foolproof system, you are guaranteed to make a million dollars, lose 50-pounds, look 12 years younger, etc.”

However, there IS one thing we can all guarantee: satisfaction. And we should all guarantee satisfaction with a money back, 30-day satisfaction guarantee—often called the “promise to please” in our industry.

When you’re talking about your product, service, or idea, I want you to imagine a brick wall between you and the other person. Every time you minimize a risk, you are essentially taking off a row of bricks and moving that other person closer and closer to the results you want.

Minimize another risk, and one more row of bricks comes down until pretty soon there’s nothing left between you and the other person. And that’s the moment you create a true “win/win” situation.

That satisfaction, 30-day, money-back guarantee language really helps secure a fast and tight bond between you and the other person because it minimizes so much risk.

Parting Words

When used effectively, these five words will move you closer to what you’re after: a strong response from your listener. They will help tear down the brick wall that stands between you and them at the beginning of  your interaction, all the while helping to create a stronger, lasting relationship that will ultimately lead to sales.

And yes, I do guarantee that!

MarketingProfs All In One