Of all the murders that Millennials have been accused of committing, from mayonnaise to napkins and the film industry, I’ve found the most heinous.
They’re killing our words.
Some of the words currently on the seriously at-risk register, because they’re no longer being used by young people, are ‘wally’, ‘boogie’ and ‘betrothed’.
Words I use almost every day.
Some have never even been heard of before by those surveyed, like ‘cad’, ‘trollop’ and ‘bounder’. Which sounds like the plot of a Jilly Cooper novel.
I can understand certain words dying out like ‘cassette’ and ‘permed’ – even I no longer listen to my Walkman with frizzy hair drinking a Capri-Sun – but what’s the reason for the others?
It’s the move away from cosy, close-knit communities of the 90s apparently.
The suggestion is that we’re not chatting about what’s happening on our doorsteps anymore. Instead, we’re chatting about the online world, even when we’re off it – about the YouTube, the internet, the email and the Google – these are the words that are now most popular.
How cold, digital and robotic.
But what also worries me is that even when we’re in those worlds, our vocab has to be quite small. As clients, we’re all too busy speeding around the interwebs to take in anything too flamboyant.
Which means as businesses, we have to speak plainly if we want to be seen. For example, the need to optimise websites for search engines means thinning out all the fruitiness 🥝 in the copy and making sure it’s bland enough for Mr Google’s palette.
It can be a little bit heart breaking. What about all those lovely words? All that personality? How are you supposed to stand out?
Don’t worry squire, there is a way.
Think of your website as the high-level serious piece, the Princess Anne of the marketing suite if you like. Clear, forthright and no-nonsense.
Then think of your blog as somewhere more relaxed where you can get a bit more Queen Mother. Cuddly, fun and slightly tipsy.
By the time you get to sending your email newsletter you can be full-on Princess Margaret if you like. Partying until dawn, bathing in champagne and shouting at the servants.
(Can you tell I’ve been watching The Crown?)
Perhaps you won’t go that far, but hopefully you can see there are more options. The great thing about this is that a little bit of colour stands out a mile. Especially in a cold, robotic world - and double, triple if that world is finance.
Money is boring, but it’s important. Making it relatable, adding some of your character, squeezing it in where you can (where it feels right) goes a long way with clients in the world of advice and planning.