The Importance of Vocabulary in Marketing

March 6, 2013 | by David Lemley

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?