What three "key words" to define a start-up do you think are over-used?
We are working on branding a new start-up. We continue to circle around the same collection of descriptive words? What words are a turn-off, over-used, or never spike your interest when you see them associated with at start-up?
I do not have a key words but got a good story.
In a sales meeting post the RFX stage few short listed companies came in. I guess in total 4 of them. While 3 of the large firms presented why they are the right fit and ended their presentation.
The 4th one just went in and said the following " Your companies spending in this area is more than my turn over, instead of me recommending you. Please let me know what need to be done and we will do it for you".
Any guesses who won the contract... the 4th one. So might be the case with many start-ups.
Any given word can be over used or mis used to the detriment of its true meaning. One of the ones I point to is synergy. I love the word. But it's been brutalized in so many circles it's a joke, though the true meaning of the word is powerful.
Were I you, I would focus on the story you are able to form around a word. What I will likely remember about your company is not the single set of words you choose to use, but the story you used to tell me about your product.
Stories help you connect to the emotional part of people that will remember far better than individual words will.
To answer the question, the only one I am finding slightly irritating at the moment is "disruptive" and I don't find it all that annoying or over used, but it was the first one that popped into my head besides "synergy."
Buy-in, Think Outside the Box, Revolutionary. They are such old, overused words. I think an honest approach that is spoken from the culture of your brand should be used to describe your brand.
New. <-- Kinda obvious.
Unique. <--- I swear I hate this one.
Creative. <-- I would hope so.
Seriously, I've designed hundreds of websites in my time, with at least 50 being for Startup companies... and I have seen a lot of them fail.
Stay away from buzzwords... just be honest about you, your company, what you are going to offer, and the principals of why you bothered to create the company in the first place.
If someone reading the website or information empathises with you, and sees that the company truly is worth their while and/or money... they will make their own buzzwords for you. Don't try selling yourself... let your work do that for you.
I've never mentioned the name of my company here as far as I can remember in MosaicHub... and I still get people asking for help on their websites. I have no need to "hard sell" you see, no buzzwords.... I let my work speak for itself.
So be X, less Y, and more Z. And the clients will fill those in for you.
[...checking if I've used any of those in my communication, ever] :D
In my opinion
one of a kind
state of the art
I think using gimmicky words are overused. Using words like "exclusive", "one-of-a-kind" or "unique positioning" are overused.
A pet peeve I have about this is going to a high-tech website and having to hit at least three pages before I can figure out what exactly a company does.
If the "What We Do" page includes a bunch of fuzzy superlatives and over-used marketing cliches, with no clear statement, it's time to have a serious talk with the marketing director. They need to re-learn plain English.
Fresh or exciting spring to mind, these are the natural emotions of a 'Startup' and do not need further emphasis...give me the 'Secret Sauce'....thats what I really want!
Passionate (you should be), Disruptive (where did this even come from?), Revolutionary (created the steam engine, eh?)
When creating a brand, you need to focus on what makes that company unique. With that being said, you shouldn't focus on the fact it's a start-up at all. There are plenty of start-ups that all offer the same value proposition of being ground breaking, exciting, fast-growth, etc., but what will the company actually do that's groundbreaking and exciting?
Think about what sets this company apart, not about why it's cool to be a start-up.
Young, brand new and smart. Everything related to the "start", the "beginning". You have to change point of view. Think about what you are selling/ideating and try to link it with the benefit for your (future) prosumer.
By "key words", do you mean for search engine optimization? Or is this about writing compelling copy? Or a positioning/tag line?
Really, I see no problem with using buzzwords or even clichés to describe your brand, as long as it fits within the context of normal industry speech and your brand's voice. After all, they became popular for a reason.
That said, don't use technical jargon if it's something your intended audience doesn't understand. For instance, a law firm could speak of "Fiduciary Responsibility" or "Res Judicata," until they're blue in the face, but it's not something that most non-attorneys would understand or even care about.
One sI hate are when they describe the working environment: fast paced, dynamic ... all of which means they are making it up as they go along.
But it really depends on the industry this start up is in. If you give us a hint we can probably be more help
No particular words, but I think words that are 'gimmicky' and 'sugar-coating' - such as "cutting-edge", "state-of-the-art", etc - are merely bragging words that usually have no evidence to substantiate them.
I am a realist, and would prefer to see words that truly indicate what the business is offering.
Let's face it, WHAT you're offering is what people are looking for. They will research reviews and the like to determine how good the business is.