Atomic Tango

Q&A: Who comes up with these terms?

October 7th, 2011 · No Comments · Random Observations

by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + Guy Who Likes to Answer Questions and Question Answers

Your Brain On Drugs

How business terminology is cooked up.

My friend Nina writes…

“I’m reading this article, and I can’t help but wonder: who comes up with the names for various consumer groups, like Millennials or, as in this piece, ‘X-fluents’? How do they gain traction? I think ‘X-fluents’ is stupid. It sounds too much like ‘effluent.’”

My response…

You remember the commercials that used eggs to symbolize a brain on drugs? Well, terminology fabrication is like that, but think of some mighty big brains and a drug called “fame.”

The perps include ad agencies, consulting firms, marketing writers (Seth Godin coins a term every 5 minutes or so), self-proclaimed social media gurus, research agencies, and professors trying to get published in the Harvard Business Review. For these guys, coining a term that gets adopted by society is like recording a #1 pop song or concocting a hit cocktail recipe. Since the theory-class doesn’t actually create anything that everyday people need or use, new terminology serves as their ticket to fame and immortality,

It’s a strategy that we didn’t study in business school (self-promo for wonks), but it’s a contagion that’s spreading. At least, according to us X-fluent wannabes (XFW’s).

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