These business buzzwords will define 2015

These business buzzwords will define 2015

Language changes all the time — but what words will find their way into the financial jargon lexicon in 2015

The buzzwords that will dominate the business world in 2015 include “conversation marketing”, “the it factor” and the suffix “jack,” language consultancy The Writer has predicted.

Each year, language evolves and new words enter the lexicon — recent additions to include yolo, binge-watch and Obamacare, while selfie and vuvuzela have made the cut in previous years.

Brand language is a powerful thing Photo: Rex Features

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Workplace jargon, also known as management speak, is no different.

«Business has a way of taking a word with a bit of edge to it and making it mainstream,» said Neil Taylor, managing partner of The Writer, whose mission is to rescue the corporate world from the tyranny of linguistic mediocrity. “The words aren’t new, neither are the concepts behind them, but businesses will jump on them to sound fresh and current.”

These buzzwords do not always help businesses express their ideas clearly. The Plain English Campaign, which works with companies and government departments to rid their work of gobbledygook, gave its Foot in Mouth award this year to the loquacious Russell Brand.

At least that shows “how memorable it is when people actually say what they think and show some personality,” said Mr Taylor.

But the adoption of new words can also express the evolving goals and concerns of culture, from text talk to corporate lingo.

“Technology is changing language,” said Mr Taylor. “These buzzwords make for a vivid, pithy one-word summary of concept it might otherwise take you a few valuable seconds – or more than 140 characters – to explain.”

The Writer’s staff base these predictions on the millions of words they read every year from clients, who are Fortune 500 companies from around the world, as well as analysis of the common words used in CEOs’ speeches, business websites and corporate literature.

These are this year’s business buzzwords.

The “-jack” suffix

From hackathons to news-hacks, the word hack has become common parlance, and jack is the hack of 2015, according to The Writer.

“For the last couple of years, ‘hack’ has made the journey from techy slang to respectable business metaphor,” Mr Taylor said. “We think the suffix ‘-jack’ will make the same leap into the mainstream in 2015.”

He said has already noticed the suffix, used like the word “hijack”, creep into business lingo. Examples include “newsjacking”, when a brand takes advantage of a news story to put across its own message, and “brandjacking”, when a marketing or political campaign is subverted for other ends, as well as “trendjacking”, “clickjacking”, and “crisisjacking”.

The “it factor”

“Businesses are always trying to shine a light on what makes them new, or different, or interesting,” Mr Taylor said. “In the past it’s been called the ‘secret ingredient’, ‘the special sauce’, and of course ‘the X factor’. But of course it’s not very new, or different, or interesting to keep describing that something the same way.”

Companies that want to express just how unique their products, strategy or staff are will ditch those tired epithets in favour of the “it factor”, The Writer predicts.

“Conversation marketing”

Content is so 2014. As social media continues to sweep the world, brands will have to think of ways to engage their audiences instead of just delivering details to them — H2H, or human to human, instead of B2B, or business to business.

“’While the intention of content marketing is good – give people useful information that they actually want – it runs the risk of being as one-sided as traditional marketing,” Mr Taylor said. “Far more powerful is the idea of having a dialogue with customers.”

He stressed the importance of seeing the customer as a person rather than a target. “Ditching the jargon and business-speak in favor of normal, conversational language is going to be crucial to building relationships in the future.”