I got a press release today with the following headline: "Genesys Named in Leaders Quadrant of Leading Analyst Firm's Report." The double use of "leader" immediately jumped out at me. The headline implies that being named a leader by a leader transforms that appellation into something even more powerful. But what? A mega-leader? A leader of leaders? A double plus good leader? The need to amplify the value of leadership shows how marketing actually saps language of its power. If every company or product is a leader (and every press release I get says so), no one is. The claim no longer has meaning.
But, using the same logic that led to a nuclear arms race, marketing departments can't stop using meaningless words because their competitors still do. And so press releases, data sheets and white papers are plastered with words (seamless, optimized, and innovative also come to mind) that don't actually say anything.
Here's a fun game you can play at home. Take a press release and swap out "leader" et. al. with "bullshit" and then read it again. It's a lot more fun, and a lot more true.Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio