I’m a big believer in the power of words (being a copywriter and all!) This goes both ways, though – words have the power to do good, and words can have a detrimental affect on what you do. And sometimes the damage is very difficult to undo.
Now I’m not talking about saying bad things or sending an angry e-mail and such. I’m talking more about unintentional damage. Damage where the words you used actually undo (or harm) your message or intent.
I’m going to use the phrase Global Warming as an example.
The big mistake the environmentalists made was calling it “Global Warming” to start with. Why was it a big mistake? Because it pigeonholed them. All it takes is a cold day in May for people to say “yea, where’s that global warming I’ve been hearing about?”
In other words, the argument gets completely caught up in being about the word “warming”. “Global Warming” is a definitive name. “Climate Change” (which is what they are now starting to use) is MUCH less restrictive.
See what I mean? “Climate Change” doesn’t have an easy, built-in opposite at the ready.
I came across this example because I am somewhat a believer in the phenomenon. While I’m not sure of a lot of things, I am pretty convinced that we, as a species, have some effect on our environment. But whenever I’m in a discussion about it, the “cold day/week/winter” argument always arises.
Side note: this is just an observation on words – I don’t want you to think I’m some environmentalist nutjob. I’m not (nor am I against such, either… listen, I’ll happily recycle the bottles, but I’m not going to lose my mind over losing a species of insect. Nor am I buying a puny little electric car…)
Truth be told, I think Global Warming is probably inevitable, and will be nature’s way of thinning us out a little… ok, back to the business part of this post.
Another aspect of this is business names. Naming your business “Bills Bug Killing” prettymuch limits you to killing bugs. Which is fine if that’s all you do. But most guys like this also handle other pests, like rodents. Naming your business “Bills Pest Services” is much better.
There are exceptions to this. But they are usually due to popular conventions. For example, I expect “Joe’s Pizza” to have Calzones (and a guy named “Joe”.)
And speaking of which, it’s time to eat.