Why do we use fancy words or buzzwords? We want to sound smart. In our quest to sound smart, we sound like everyone else, confusing, and unoriginal. I think Matt Damon’s character, Will, in Good Will Hunting is a good example of responding to an MIT student who is trying to impress Skylar with fancy words and embarrass Will’s friend, Chuckie. He says, “Yeah, maybe, but at least I won’t be unoriginal.


Brands fall into this trap of trying to sound smart with business jargon and corporate lingo that leaves people scratching their heads just like Chuckie in the Good Will Hunting clip. The brands with the greatest influence use simple language such as Apple’s “Think Different” or Nike’s “Just Do it”. Your audience should not need a dictionary (Webster, urban, or business) by your side to decipher a brand’s message. Your goal as a brand should be to tell people what you do for them with simple and direct language.

How do you know if your brand message is confusing?

Here’s the litmus test. If you hear people say more often than not, “I read about your business, but explain to me what you do?” or “I don’t quite understand”, it is time to rethink your brand message with simple and direct language.

One final thought.

As you rethink your brand message, look at what makes your brand’s service or product unique. What makes you original? Tell us in simple and direct language. Ready. Set. Go!