Communication Breakdown.


I was director of market at a company a couple of years ago and a smart dude in the education space was talking copy points. Copy inputs. He used a couple of well-worn marketing words like “what sets us apart is our ability to partner with schools.” There are certain words in marketing and copywriting, I said, that are “toxic.” And partnership is one.  The word partnership is like an algae and has grown so in marketing parlance that it has choked off all the oxygen it once contained. There are other toxic words and phrases in marketing, deadly sins if you will, which when used in copy not only don’t impart their intended meaning (due to rampant overuse) they turn people off. They shut us down. It’s like hearing a bad song on the radio…click.

If you need to make the point conveyed by a toxic word, use a story. Bury it in a narrative. Find an under-used synonym. Or use it in a very different, out-of-context way. Toxic words area lazy and bad trade craft. Peace.