3 Corporate Buzzwords You Should Use in 2013 (And Three You Probably Shouldn’t)

soical7This post is by Michael Perulli, account executive at Cision.

Each year, industry professionals coin new terms and phrases to describe trends in their respective industries. Some stick around for a while and some get so overused that you’re sick of hearing them by August. Today’s post will highlight some buzzwords that you should be aware of in 2013 and will also call out a few that need to be laid to rest.

Buzzwords you’ll hear in 2013

Growth Hacking – In Brian Solis’ post last month about thinking like a startup, he mentions the term “growth hacking.” Some people might find this term confusing if they’re hearing it for the first time because the phrase “hack” is usually associated with cyber criminals trying to steal information; however, the term has evolved to also mean “do more with less.” A good example of this would be the informative and brilliant post, 50 life hacks to simplify your world.

Growth hacking is used primarily in the startup business. Startups usually have fewer employees and therefore, they are tasked with taking on multiple roles. A growth hacker is someone that “hacks” the traditional way that marketers grow their business by doing more with less.

Advertainment – In 2012, content marketing should have already been at the forefront of most marketing professionals’ agendas. In 2013, “advertainment” should be added to that list. It follows the same idea as content marketing: offering something useful to the consumer to get brand recognition. In the case of “advertainment,” as you may have guessed, it’s advertising disguised as entertainment (or product placement on steroids, if you will). Take, for instance, this commercial for the BMW M5. Its HD pictures are breathtaking and the images are stunning. BMW doesn’t view it as an advertisement or even branded content for that matter, it proclaims it as “high performance art.” The average consumer is bombarded with messaging these days and marketing and PR professionals are increasingly challenged to capture consumers’ attention. Advertainment is a great way to achieve this.

Acqui-hire – Ask any recruiter, good talent is hard to find. An “acqui-hire” is when a company acquires a startup and by doing so, not only acquires the product but also acquires the talent that made the startup successful. A recent example of this is Yahoo’s recent acquisition of a mobile reader app, Summly, where Yahoo also acquired the 17 year-old programming guru who created the app.

Buzzwords to stop using in 2013

Social Business – This term has too many definitions and can easily be misconstrued. The first thing that comes to mind is a business that has a presence on social media platforms. By this definition, simply put every business should be a social business by now. It shouldn’t be a question of if your business is social; it should be a matter of how social. Any business that isn’t currently active on social networks will find themselves with a lot of catching up to do in the next few years.

However, Peter Kim describes a social business as combining technology, work and society to focus on “business-to-customer engagement, employee-to-employee collaboration” and “supply chain optimization.” Yet, Muhammad Yunus describes the term as a “new kind of capitalism that serves humanity’s most pressing needs.”

There are just far too many definitions for this buzzword to be thrown around every day. The madness must stop.

Epic – Perhaps the most overused phrase of 2012, the use of this word really needs to stop, especially in a corporate environment. The word epic actually refers to “a long poem or narrative,” something “unusually vast in size or extent” or something “heroic” (and we are talking war time heroics here, not “I gave up my seat for an elderly person on the train” heroic). That’s it. The new product launch coming up next month will not be epic. You getting off work an hour early on Friday is not epic. That is all.

It Is What It Is – Is it? Is it really? Never has such a dismissive, lazy, unapologetic statement been accepted in a corporate environment.

The epic product launch that was supposed to be ready next month is delayed? Oh well, it is what it is.

Just put your foot in your mouth in front of the SVP of digital marketing? What can you do, it is what it is.

This phrase is clichéd and lacks accountability. It should be avoided at all costs.

At the end of the day, I think I gave a very high-level overview of some upcoming buzzwords to keep an eye on in 2013. Some key takeaways from this post would be to use these buzzwords sparingly, as overuse can often cause a paradigm shift and may land these buzzwords on a “phrases to stop using in 2014” list. I hope I’ve provided some key insights but we are going to have to table this post because I have a hard-stop at 3 pm ET. Synergy.