Do news releases overuse, even abuse, leading and leaders in an attempt to assert the popularity and superiority of brands, products, and companies? That’s the conclusion of an analysis of news releases issued during a 24-hour period.
Leading, leader, and leading provider occupied three of the top 10 places in the list of overused terms and buzzwords.
For those of us involved in marketing products, causes, and companies, this is interesting information. But what is its implication?
Here’s my take.
Your client, company, or product either is the leader or is not. If not, then you’re better off finding another word or phrase to describe your place in the universe.
Sure, if you’re not really the leader, you can sidle up to that position with the fallbacks “one of the leaders,” “a leader,” or “ranks among the leaders.” And in some cases, where the rankings are tightly bunched and frequently change in order, those fallbacks might be okay.
But everybody knows that “one of the leaders” means “We’re not the leader, but we want to reap the benefits of being the leader.” Overuse of “one of the leaders” and its variations is dilutive. And it can engender skepticism (“Yeah, sure. Everybody’s a leader, like all the kids are above average in Lake Wobegon.”) in an era when trust and transparency are more important than ever.
On the other hand, if you’re truly the leader, then leader isn’t a buzzword. It’s a precious, hard-earned strategic advantage.
So if your company or brand truly is the leader, say so. Often. Loudly. In press releases. In marketing materials. Say so with specifics to prove your position and to set your product or company apart from those who can’t legitimately claim the leading position. If you’re really feeling bold, shout leader or leading from the cover of your company’s annual report, as the largest issuer of Visa cards did once.