Business Phrases You’d Like to Kill

December 22, 2009

By Jim Bianchi
Posted in BtoB Marketing Group News | LinkedIn

In our unscientific survey of communicators and executives to find the business buzzwords that should be banned, many of you nominated phrases that drove you nuts.

So, as a follow-up to last week’s post on biz buzzwords to be banned, here are the phrases that  you’d like banished from business communications – along with some of your comments related to the offending phrases:

1. At the end of the day (Has displaced “the bottom line”)

2. It is what it is (Of course it is. Isn’t it?)

3. Teachable moment (Aren’t they all?)

4. Having said that / That being said (I’m going to keep talking)

5. It’s all about the brand / Live the brand (What happened to the customer?)

6. Let’s take (the discussion) offline (So I can beat you up in private!)

7. Let me wrap my head around that (Imagine the mess that would make!)

8. Out of the box / Outside the box (… and into the toilet)

9. Reach out (Can’t you just say “call” or “write”?)
I find the variation of this – “Out-reach” – even more irritating. AJ

10. User engagement (When’s the wedding? For the ring, he went to Jared!)

Thanks to all for contributing!

We also received a few contributions – real-world quotes – that go beyond mere irritation and I just don’t know how to categorize them. But still, they’re worth sharing:

A. “The glide path of mission critical work streams

B. “We need to market our green initiative, although we really don’t have one.”

Amazing! You can’t make this kind of stuff up.

BtoB Marketing Group News | LinkedIn

Thinking outside the box

December 11, 2009

Interesting new technology from Mitsubishi Electric, as highlighted on EMT Worldwide.

Mitsubishi Electric has announced that it will demonstrate a new multi-touch (MT) interface for its Seventy Series DLP cubes at ISE 2010. The new interface transforms a standard multi-window display wall into an interactive workspace that can be used by several users simultaneously.

The multi-touch technology, developed jointly in Sweden by Mitsubishi Electric and i3 Sense, uses laser sensors instead of the more usual infra-red (IR) detectors or capacitive touch overlaysThe multi-touch technology, developed jointly in Sweden by Mitsubishi Electric and i3 Sense, uses laser sensors instead of the more usual infra-red (IR) detectors or capacitive touch overlays. As well as offering greater accuracy and responsiveness, the new system is much less susceptible to interference from sources of IR radiation such as sunlight. The technology makes it possible to create reliable multi-touch, multi-user interfaces in normally-lit environments such as control rooms, shop windows, or other public areas.
Mitsubishi has developed a multi-touch option for its Seventy Series DLP cubes that enables the entire display wall to become a single multi-touch interface. Multiple users can interact with the display at the same time, with the software tracking the hand movements of each user from one cube to the next completely seamlessly. Users can change size, orientation and position of any window by simply ‘grabbing’ it or ‘dragging’ the corners to the desired position. The ease with which users can work together and manage multiple sources offers exciting possibilities in applications such as command and control.

The multi-touch technology, developed jointly in Sweden by Mitsubishi Electric and i3 Sense, uses laser sensors instead of the more usual infra-red (IR) detectors or capacitive touch overlaysDaniel Quitzau of Mitsubishi Electric Sweden commented: "The Multi-Touch option creates a completely new class of user interface called a Natural User Interface (NUI). The strength of NUIs are that they are completely intuitive. The technology removes the need for the operator to have specialist training or to be aware of how the data is being managed. Configuring a display really does become as simple and as intuitive as arranging paper on your desk. Users are becoming much more familiar with touch interfaces through products like the iPhone. Windows 7 ships with native support for multi-touch applications and so it’s likely that we will see rapid growth in the use of multi-touch applications over the next few years. With this technology option now available in our control room displays, Mitsubishi Electric is very much at the forefront of this technology."

The Seventy Series cubes are available in 50in, 60in, 67in and 80in screen sizes in 1024 x 768 pixel and 1400 x 1050 pixel resolutions. All can be supplied with the i3 Sense MT option and it is possible for the system to be retrofitted into existing installations. Seventy Series products have built-in processing and interchangeable input cards to enable sophisticated multi-input display walls to be created without an external processor. For more ambitious projects, Mitsubishi’s VC-X3000 image processor and D-Wall software suite can be used to create powerful turnkey control room solutions.

Thinking outside the box

Further corporate howlers…

December 10, 2009

Following on from our last post, we thought these two fine examples of grammatical ineptitude were worthy of sharing. These are absolutely genuine adverts, found on last year. Enjoy – but remember as you deride the woeful lack of language skills that produced these gems, that it’s very easy for speling mistakes to creep into even the most carefully prepared text. Oh damn…pass the Tipex please!



Go to the bottom of the spelling class…

December 9, 2009

Spotted this morning on the Education Today website. Oh the irony.


NLA web clipping licence to go ahead in the New Year

December 4, 2009

Commentator Stephen Wadds posted this story on his blog concerning the changes to UK media licensing. These moves by the NLA are deeply controversial and will inevitably make life much more difficult for PR agencies, and for their clients who will ultimately have to bear the cost of this licensing. This development has to be set against Google’s recent announcement of its plans to restrict access to newspaper content. It looks like there will be some fairly big changes ahead in 2010 for web users and communications professionals alike.

NLA web clipping licence to go ahead in the New Year

I have followed the NLA’s plan to licence the use of paid-for business-to-business web content from newspaper web sites since the NLA announced its plans in June (search my blog for content tagged NLA for more information). Since then publishers have started to raise pay walls and take on Google in a bid to monetise content.

Six months is a long time on the Internet and especially so for newspaper publishers running loss making web operations.

The NLA said today that the web licensing scheme will go ahead from 1 January 2010. Press clipping agencies, web aggregators, PR agencies and client organisations that track web clippings on newspaper web sites will need a licence. Free consumer services will not be affected.

In September the NLA said that the move will generate an estimated £2 million and while this won’t make a significant dent in the £1 billion production budget of the UK newspaper industry, it will ensure that publishers recover a contribution from the after market for web clippings.

In a press release issued today the NLA said that it has reached agreement with almost all press cutting agencies but that it still needed to agree terms with “a small number of paid web aggregators”.

“Newspaper publishers, which own the NLA, have written to the remaining aggregators to express their full support for the NLA’s initiative. The letter makes clear that the publishers and NLA will pursue non-compliant aggregators with technical and/or legal measures as necessary.”

In agency-land any move to implement additional costs will be inevitably be challenged but the ongoing debate about monetising newspaper web content will help the NLA’s case.

NLA web clipping licence to go ahead in the New Year | Wadds’ PR Blog

Social media skirmishes in ’09 offer PR lessons

December 2, 2009

Like it or not, social media has changed the PR landscape. With it, the way companies manage their interactions with the public has had to change too. And it’s still changing as lessons are learned and techniques evolve to handle the extraordinary speed with which stories can spread. Here are some notable events from 2009 for PROs to ponder.

(Originally published today in The Daily Dog)
Online skirmishes between activists and brands are a daily occurrence.  Consumer products companies, in particular, are juicy targets for disgruntled customers, gadflies and pranksters, many of whom are busily accumulating sizable lists of followers and friends on social networks.  Lessons learned in 2008 guided many brands toward active surveillance of social media, yet few could have predicted the lightning-fast speed and audience size of the top social media brand attacks of 2009.

Based on a Twitter straw poll of social media observers, and corroborating data from Google search and YouTube, the big nine of ‘09 were:

  • #1 United Breaks Guitars – Virtually no one had heard of the Dave Carroll’s Canadian country music band Sons of Maxwell until the musicians were angered by United Airlines. The carrier’s baggage handlers damaged a $3,500 guitar that the band had checked onto a flight, and United gave Carroll the runaround when he tried to get compensation. The episode inspired a song and music video that includes the lyrics, "I should have flown with someone else, or gone by car, because United breaks guitars." With more than 16.9 million Google search references and 5 million views of the video on YouTube, the impact to United Airlines was massive. Despite the carrier’s inability to appease Carroll before his digital anger spread in July, I loved spokeswoman Robin Urbanski’s quip: "This has struck a chord with us." She was classy while under fire.
  • #2 Domino’s Pizza employee prank – A series of videos posted to YouTube in April depicted two workers doing disgusting things in the food preparation area of a Domino’s restaurant in Conover, N.C. Images of an employee putting cheese in his nostril before using it in a food order, and wiping a sponge on his rear end, were live on the video-sharing website for 48 hours, attracting coverage by the Consumerist and more than 1 million views before being removed. Despite telling company officials and police that no food tampering had truly occurred in the prank, the employees were arrested and the restaurant closed its doors in September. As of early November, there were 4.3 million references to this drama on Google.
  • #3 Tim Horton’s donation to anti-gay event – The Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons angered the gay and lesbian community by sponsoring a rally against same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, where the company operates stores. Through a Twitter protest that used the hashtag #TimHortonFail, petitions started, blog entries authored and mainstream media coverage sparked. The company pulled its sponsorship, but coverage continued and the episode generated 4.88 million Google references.
  • #4 Nestle outreach to bloggers – Swiss food giant Nestle has been the focus of a boycott since 1977 over its sale of infant formula in developing nations, where poverty is rampant and it’s tough to find clean water to mix with formula. The battle flared in September when Nestle invited mommy bloggers (and some dads) to its U.S. headquarters to discuss parenting issues. Breastfeeding advocates went ballistic in social media, trying to convince influential bloggers not to attend and accusing the company of PR dirty tricks. The issue was still raging on Twitter in early November, using the hashtag #nestlefamilies, and there were 1.1 million mentions on Google.
  • #5 Glenn Beck advertising boycott – When conservative Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist, the African American political advocacy group Color of Change used social media to organize an advertising boycott. While Beck’s ratings soared, dozens of brands prohibited the network from airing their commercials during the show. There were positive and negative #glennbeck tweets about the decision by advertisers to either stay or flee from the program. Google shows 576,000 pages of content on the issue.
  • #6 Outraged iPhone want new discount on new 3GS phones – When Apple unveiled a faster iPhone capable of shooting video, there were plenty of existing iPhone owners who wanted to upgrade. They also wanted a deal. When neither AT&T nor Apple offered a loyalty program to appease fans, the crowd got ugly. Twitter was the battleground, with an #iphonersHateATT tag created and petitions circulated. While the campaign yielded only 15,000 signatures, it generated high-circulation media coverage and 987,000 Google references.
  • #7 Facebook’s terms and conditions – Some people don’t want their long history of BFF’s to become the property of Facebook. There was considerable online agita in February when the social network changed its conditions of service to limit the rights of users to erase their own data. Concerns voiced by the FB community spilled onto Twitter and into the pages of law journals and mainstream business press until the company tweaked the policy to better reflect the wishes of their users. Today, there are nearly 450,000 references to the affair.
  • #8 Amazon’s disappearing LGBT books – Amazon blamed a computer glitch for the sudden disappearance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books. Some 57,000 titles were removed in April, catching the eye of several authors and quickly spilling into tweets, Facebook postings and eventually an article in The Wall Street Journal. As of early November, Google was indexing 430,000 pages of content on the incident.
  • #9 Windows 7 HouseParty video – To launch its new operating system, Microsoft contracted with the marketing company HouseParty to organize hundreds of in-home events. The goal was to generate word-of-mouth and online buzz about Windows 7, but an instructional video aimed at party hosts derailed the messaging. "If this video is Microsoft’s idea of a party, whoa — I don’t want to be a lame-ass by association," wrote Joe Wilcox on Betanews. At last count, YouTube had up served this six minute treasure 1.2 million times and Google had 129,000 pages on the topic.

Crises fueled by social media are a new phenomenon to most PR professionals. While the issues and responses may be similar to those we have faced before, the breakneck pace at which messages spread makes it imperative to have the tools to capture television, print, internet and social media conversations in real time and to curate responses.

Thankfully, many of the practitioners who have steered their organizations through these very visible online debacles are very open to sharing the things they did right and what they’d do differently if given the chance. My advice, follow them, friend them and learn from their experiences.

Social media skirmishes in ’09 offer PR lessons

The perils of un-moderated Twitter feeds

December 1, 2009

Today’s Telegraph reports on an unfortunate incident involving a TV station, a digital signage system and an un-moderated Twitter feed. A recipe for disaster if ever we heard one!

TV station managers suspended following Twitter ‘gang rape’ billboard

Two senior staff in an Alabama news station have allegedly been suspended after a billboard with a live Twitter feed seemingly accused its own presenters of rape.

By Tom Chivers
Published: 4:38PM GMT 30 Nov 2009

Twitter 'gang rape' billboard; TV station managers suspended following Twitter 'gang rape' billboard

The unfortunate juxtaposition was caught on camera Photo: THE PALMETTO SCOOP

The advertisement, for WPMI-TV in Alabama, showed the station’s anchors, Greg Peterson and Kym Thurman, with their top weatherman Derek Beasley, alongside the latest headline and the words “Right now on Twitter”.

Unfortunately for the station, at one stage the top headline on Twitter read “Three accused of gang rape in Monroeville”, and the misleading juxtaposition was caught on camera by a passing motorist as he drove through Mobile, Alabama.

The resulting photograph soon found its way on to a South Carolina blog, the Palmetto Scoop, and then on to social media site Mashable, before being sent around the internet in a series of emails and blog posts.

Now, according to various websites, two of the station’s senior staff have been suspended, allegedly over the billboard incident. However, the station has yet to confirm this.

WPMI-TV is a local affiliate of NBC, covering the south of Alabama and much of Florida.

TV station managers suspended following Twitter ‘gang rape’ billboard – Telegraph