Brand Management | Brand Work

Wordburnout: Engaging

Okay, I’m done with you, Engaging. I don’t know where I was or what I read, but today I finally reached my limit.

Let’s give each other a rest for awhile. You’ve been a cast member in far too many personality profiles, messages and more by now. You’re overexposed and overworked, Engaging.

Truly, I understand it’s not your fault: The parlance of business is relatively thin and colorless as parlances go, and even a moderately decent word risks the kind of mistreatment you have suffered. No, the fault is not yours. It’s ours, mine included. Chalk it up to our lack of imagination, our lack of initiative in pushing our clients to envision fresher ways of conceiving themselves.

Maybe I’m fickle. Maybe I’m restless. But at the moment I’m far more intrigued by your acoustically similar siblings: Exhilarating, Enchanting, Enthralling, Entrancing and my favorite of all, the somewhat more modest Enjoyable. When I spend time with them I feel the blood coursing through my veins once again.

Thank you for all you have done for me, Engaging. In addition to serving me admirably—on demand, no less—you have taught me three vital lessons: First, when it comes to the terms I use to characterize a brand, don’t be so damned earnest. A little theatricality is fine, you remind me, even for a brand. Project yourself.

Second, mix it up a bit. In any mix of descriptive terms you use to characterize a brand, look for the ringer, the one that’s a little off-center, a little hard to swallow initially, a little sit-up-and-take notice. The designers and writers who follow will thank you.

Lastly, you’ve taught me—or at least reminded me—strange as it may seem at times, that the world of business parlance (and thinking) is subject to fashion no less than any other. In this world, I’m a fashionista no less than a strategist, and it’s part of my job to retire the tired.

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