Over the years, I’ve picked up an unhealthy understanding of the language of business. Years of sitting in big corporate meetings will do that to you, unfortunately.
Here at New Kind, my business partners will still call me out for talking about “action items,” saying something is in our “wheelhouse,” or jumping straight to the “net-net.”
But perhaps the business term I love to hate the most is the word bucketize, which I’d translate as “to organize into broad categories.” Common usage might include statements like the following:
“I’m going to bucketize these requirements.”
“We’ve bucketized the skillsets we need for this project.”
It’s not just the word that I dislike either, but the entire concept of bucketizing things, which often means taking complex relationships and oversimplifying them in order to fit into broad buckets designed to hold everything except much meaning. Bucketizing often puts things into silos (another favorite business word), destroying valuable connections between ideas, tasks, or people ending up in, well, different buckets.
Perhaps the most egregious example of corporate bucketizing for me is the typical corporate org chart, which looks something like this.
In most organizations, each person sitting at the executive table has their own employee bucket. As an executive, you are often motivated to fill your bucket with as many people as possible, because the more people you have working for you, the more power you control in the organization.
The problem? The org chart is an oversimplified, semi-fictional construct.
It rarely represents an accurate view of the complex web of working relationships found within an organization where people in different buckets communicate and work with each other all of the time. Yet, even though it is mostly fiction, the org chart often creates real power for executives to wield.
[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]
When it comes to positioning terminology, I sometimes get questions like “what is the difference between a brand mantra and a brand essence?” or “is a point of difference the same thing as a key differentiator?”
I have standard terminology I use for brand positioning projects, which you can read more about in my Brand Positioning Tips. I picked up most of these terms from Dr. Kevin Keller, one of the world’s foremost brand positioning experts, and the brand positioning guru we used for a lot of our Red Hat positioning work.
Kevin uses terms like point of parity, point of difference, competitive frame of reference, and brand mantra to describe his positioning process. I like these terms and they have become comfortable for me to use in my positioning work.
But often, I’ll be working with a client who approaches positioning from a slightly different point of view. Perhaps they’ll talk about what I call a brand audit as a brand diagnostic or they’ll refer to the brand mantra as the brand essence.
When working with clients on positioning projects, I operate using the when in Rome principle. I use their words instead of mine. Why? Because they are just words, after all.
What really matters is whether we agree on what the heart and soul of the brand is and what makes it different from other similar brands.
Using Kevin Keller’s terminology to describe your brand positioning won’t automatically make it good brand positioning, and some of the best-positioned brands I have ever seen were probably developed by people who had never heard of a point of parity.
So use whatever words you like as long as you understand the concepts.