Over the past couple of days I have been struck by the use of words in two items I read which made me wonder if PRs have a different language to everyone else.
The first was in an, albeit old, copy of PR Week where on the front page they had a story which declared that its own research showed that a certain coffee chain was “being deserted by a significant minority of consumers”. What is a ‘significant minority? The phrase tells us nothing. A ‘significant minority’ could be 49 per cent or a mere 10 per cent. (Further into the article you found it was actually 16 per cent of 62 per cent of the 1567 respondees – 155 to you and me.) It is a meaningless phrase of the sort PRs often fall into using trying to get something catchy out of non-news.
The second was the email tagline for a release from Sunderland Council which stated that ”Sunderland Council use digital safes to tackle crime”. My immediate thought was that most people would use a policeman or security officers to do the job. I had visions of safes running around Sunderland saying, “stop or I’ll trap you inside.”
I know how difficult it is to find the right tagline and how often we are clutching at straws to make it interesting but I think PRs need to look at what they are saying and think how others would read it.