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Careers: Personal Branding and Jargon

Quick quiz: What do Starbucks and jargon have do with each other? Starbucks of course taught the world to speak its language; whoever asked for a Grande or Venti bfore the coffee giant made coffee a 24/7 obsession? What’s the kicker is that Starbucks got the world talking the way it talked.

Quick quiz: What do Starbucks and jargon have do with each other?

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Starbucks of course taught the world to speak its language; whoever asked for a Grande or Venti bfore the coffee giant made coffee a 24/7 obsession? What’s the kicker is that Starbucks got the world talking the way it talked.

Most companies, of course do the reverse. They speak their own argot and assume that everyone else understands what they are saying. Meanwhile, everyone is scratching their heads without a clue. This fuzzy language seeps into marketing copy, websites, newsletters, you name it, so you don’t have the foggiest idea what the copy means.

It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of jargon in our own personal brands. It’s like using a three syllable word when a plain, old one syllable one will do better. A great example of cutting through the jargon field is Jack Welch. There’s a review of a new book about how “he talked GE into Becoming the World’s Greatest Company in Strategy & Business. Welch, when he became CEO in 1981, believed GE had become a place with too many high-flown visions, too much abstract planning and too many ‘bullshit meetings.’” He did away with the vision ‘extravaganzas’ in favor of success stories with messages attached.”

As personal branders, we can learn from Jack Welch. Not only, of course, did he carve out his own personal brand becoming GE’s best-known, but he understood the power of stories. As we create our own personal brands, it’s important to not only have a compelling elevator pitch but also stories and examples of what we’ve done that help define what’s special about our work. Testimonials and case studies are one good way to do this. What stories are you telling about your work and achievements?

Wendy Marx, Personal Branding and PR Specialist, Marx Communications

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About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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