A diplomat is one who can tell you to GO TO HELL in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip. — Caskie Stinnett

Ah, the power of words. Whomever Caskie Stinnett is, he really nailed the saying in the title of this article. We’re all in the business of words. Words have the power to make history, and they can certainly alter the way we relate to marketing. Such a small living breathing thing a word is — four letters — that carries so much weight.Words can assume positive or negative connotations. As we’ve seen, words make or break elections regardless of the truth, or lack thereof. Words can change the course of a democracy, make wars, and change perspectives. Words can mislead when used intentionally or erroneously. Fake news is proliferating when so many of us rely on social media for our delivery of current events. The loose use of facts, half-truths, falsehoods, whatever you want to call it, are racing to the bottom.Citizens United. Sure, it sounds encouraging, bringing all people together. But the combination of these words actually connotes something entirely different. In reality, these two words together give absolute power to the very few while alienating everyone else. And they are already altering the direction of the United States, as the top few are manipulating politicians like chess pieces to speak for the entire, mostly silent, population.

“I love you.” Is this meant as a heartfelt declaration between two people, or is it used to buy time while other decisions are being weighed, in which case love has no place?

“New & Improved.” It this for real, or is the box simply redesigned, in which case the object of the statement isn’t new & improved after all.

“Let’s keep in touch.” “Let’s do lunch.” “Call me.” Right.

In a world of dangerously mixed messages, are we supposed to trust marketing just because it’s constantly shoved down our throats? Are the Chevrolet commercials featuring “Real People, Not Actors” in so-called focus groups speaking to all of us or just their brand’s dedicated consumers? Should we forget that GM continued to make cars that killed their drivers? After all, not all of us voted for Donald J. Trump, or, on the other side of the pond, voted for Brexit with eyes wide closed. We seem to often vote for promising words, perhaps not reality.

“Social” is a word commonly synonymous with companionship, community, and relationships. So, does “social media” infer these terms in the real world; The concept of relating to a community with commonalities? The answer: Sometimes. Social media, within a macro un-social environment, where avoidance is the rule: emails, the death of the telephone (remember that?), conversation, lunch, and so on, and so on…

“A diplomat is one who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.” How diplomatically do we represent ourselves, our brands, our companies and jobs, in tongue, visually, or in implications?

BG-blog-gth-fork.jpgIn the sphere of marketing, a brand must be/should be held accountable for its claims and promises. We introduce ourselves to prospects, and then begin the longer conversation. While we present ourselves in our best, and most honest light since (after all, we are talking about long-term relationships), our next task is to craft the words for our prospect-turned-client. Here’s where we hit that fork in the road; we see the word “Yield,” and might choose to go the seemingly correct way, even if that path seems longer, and you’re representing the brand intelligently. You’ve put together a long-term strategy, with the objective of garnering greater market share over time; but take the other path with a green light, perhaps a quicker direction and you’re thinking short-term. Remembering that a brand is only as strong as its weakest link, with its most misguiding words, with this direction you might be heading quickly for a dead-end. At the juncture of potential no return, do you persevere through the quicksand of unknown territory hoping that something will click, or do you first retrace your steps back to that fork in the road, and then start anew? By the time you get to fresh footing, it might be too late to reestablish yourself as a viable product in an extremely competitive environment.

It’s vital to start along the surer path, and then go through the proper pains of plotting out the right strategy over time, testing messages and words as you go, and staying agile to negotiate any caution signs along the way. Take this reasonable route and you’ll build equity in your brand exponentially with every word that emanates from your message.

But, always remember, step one is that we start with the sales. First with the prospect, then with the client, then with the clients’ clients. Nowadays, with technology hurtling along ahead of us, it’s up to us to keep stride with the latest and greatest programs, and of course, the definitive one for us. It’s become imperative to use the correct technology, and words, to create our sales personae, and then surgically pursue those companies and individuals that can profit most from our inner capabilities. Win an account, plot out a brilliant (of course) seamless strategy, and start pushing along that right path. Keep those powerful words and visuals consistent with your strategy and execute, execute, execute…

We need to think that there will be an end to fake news and damaging claims, because if loose words keep spiraling into an Alfred Hitchcockian Vertigo vortex of fictitious content, we’ll all be in danger of becoming something once defined by Plato… “Man: A being in search of meaning.”