The Importance of Vocabulary in Marketing

People, people, people! If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, it’s important to get our vocabulary straight, as a recent piece in ADWEEK shows. The story details designer Ben Pieratt’s efforts to create and sell Hessian, a company without a product, for $18,000. The price tag would include the name, a URL, Twitter account, more than 20 logo designs, a Web site theme and a brand book.

“Hessian is an invader, a brand in waiting,” the ADWEEK story quotes Pieratt as saying. The story also refers to Hessian as a “brand identity.”

Not only is Hessian not a brand, it’s also not a story. Templated design systems have been around for a decade.

The real disturbing story here is that a publication that specializes in covering advertising and marketing refers to Hessian as a brand (a collection of opinions we hold based upon the promises they make and keep). If we in the marketing world cannot get our terms straight we risk leading our clients to believe that we don’t understand what they’re talking about. As a result we could face the headache associated with turning this very specific phrase into something meaningless and generic.

Aspirin, anyone?

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David was two decades into a design career with a wall full of shiny awards and a portfolio of clients including Nordstrom, Starbucks, Nintendo, and REI. His rocket trajectory veered when his oldest child faced a health challenge of indeterminate origin. Hundreds of research hours later, David identified food allergy as the issue and convinced skeptical medical professionals caring for his child. Since that experience, David and Retail Voodoo have been on a mission to create a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable food system for all.

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