Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

Once upon a time, the word gourmet conjured up sumptuous, rich foods of the highest quality:


It was something we desired, something we sought after, something we aspired to.

Then someone’s marketing department got a hold of the word and corrupted it beyond recognition into this sad joke:

Airtran pretzels

Once upon a time, there were a few select companies that were actually industry-leading. Now the marketing departments of the world have deemed everyone industry-leading:

"industry leading" - Google Search

As Syndrome says in The Incredibles, once everyone is special, then no one is special. Everyone is industry-leading to the point where it’s a meaningless term. Every food is gourmet, every wine is vintage, every company believes its customer service is the best, every consumer good is luxury, every event is exclusive, every customer status is elite, every product is innovative.

What’s the competent marketer to do when the incompetent marketers around him or her are corrupting words faster than he or she can use them meaningfully? At a certain point, the thesaurus runs out.

How do you handle the business of being remarkable when all the words to make remarks have been used up?

Did you enjoy this blog post? If so, please subscribe right now!

Corrupting words 1 Corrupting words 2 Corrupting words 3

Get this and other great articles from the source at www.ChristopherSPenn.com! Want to take your conference or event to the next level? Book me to speak and get the same quality information on stage as you do on this blog.


5 responses to “Corrupting words”

  1. Walking the talk seems the best solution for sure

  2. You have to perform toward your end goal daily to be recognized for it. If you want to be known for bringing value, you can’t just say the words, but have to make the effort to connect that descriptor to your company by the people who use your services.

    Can’t become something because you label it so. Don’t say you’re awesome, perform well and let others do that for you.

  3. Claudio Avatar

    To a great degree Chris remarkability is in the deliverables…Though I get it, how do you even get noticed in order to let someone know how remarkable you are when the medium is corrupted as you point out?

    I don’t have a clearcut answer to that … all I know is how to build on public successes and private failures, and sometimes viceversa. That’s my marketing, my lead generator, what I’m doing and have done!


  4. Randy Bosch Avatar
    Randy Bosch

    Word corruption/erosion/et.al. continues in all areas of life and fields of endeavor, with very detrimental long-term results.
    I penned (typed) (ranted) “Words Have Meaning” at http://wp.me/pVUDj-7J on “RenaissanceRules” as a result of these shared concerns, a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

    Fight back against the “dominant paradigm” of word devaulation!

  5. You write in simple, everyday language without hype.

    You stop using management speak to praise yourself. Forget the meaningless cliche of ‘gourmet’ and describe what you actually do ‘Our michelin star chef prepares your dish to order’ . This gives the reader the right impression – without relying on a term which has lost its meaning through misuse. Course, that would only work if it was true. Let your reviewers call you gourmet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This