Yes, we’re guilty. Guilty of using words like ‘new normal’ to describe the current situation or still describing everything as ‘disruptive’ and ‘innovative’. Now, while there’s nothing wrong with those words in general, how we use them makes them the most overused words in PR in Singapore. I specifically call out Singapore, because the most overused words in PR in Malaysia or Indonesia are actually different.

How does SYNC use these “overused words in PR”?

Before we jump into the why and a lengthy discussion on what it means to be overused, let’s first understand how we actually use it in PR. PR is not just press releases, so you stop that right now. We use communication in every single legal way possible to get our clients’ messages to the right people. Using press releases is just one way of doing so. 

The other most common way is to use emails or even social media to DM journalists or build a direct communication channel to prospective customers and partners. Broken down into simple language, we also email a whole bunch of people and write/develop a lot of social media content to get people excited. 

Let’s put that into perspective, for an average client that we work with for a year, we send an average of 4 to 6 press releases. There have been clients where we have sent even fewer than that because we did not have to and doing so would have been a disservice to the client and the media. We do, however, send an average of over 100 emails per client per month – not a crazy amount, but way more content in terms of what we develop and send out. 

I hesitate to even consider the number of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and yes, tweets we have to develop for clients on a monthly basis. I can give you an exact number actually, but I won’t – client confidentiality and trade secrets.

So, before we lose you, here’s our list of the top 5 most overused words in PR in Singapore. 

New Normal

This is an easy one and borne out of the pandemic, this might be one of the most overused and least understood words in the current discourse right now. We actually overused this word (and still do), because it was gaining traction in the media and if you didn’t, no one seemed to want to read your email. One such example is our use in this contributed article around event management in the new normal.

This phrase should die a swift death as we hopefully leave this pandemic far behind. 

Hyperlocal

Wow… At least, I have the sense to be embarrassed by our usage of this word. Supposedly an exaggeration to emphasise a brand’s ability to localise, it is in fact, not really a word or phrase. It is a forced term developed by the startup community.

It refers to the localisation or hyperlocal attitude towards smaller communities and geographies – all the way to neighbourhoods or marginalized groups. But let’s be honest, does it really mean anything really?

Used in the right context, this can be a powerful term, but still in all likelihood should not be such a popular term used by people in the PR industry.

Disruptive

I haven’t seen this term used that much in the last few years and that is a good thing. For the most part, during the beginning of Singapore’s rise as the startup capital of the region (I would say around 2012/2013), a lot of the new startups and technology companies were disruptive and therefore, the usage of the term was justified and necessary. 

Over the last few years, as technologies have continued to improve there hasn’t been a major shift for many industries and rather than disruptive, startups have made smarter business decisions or filled niches in the market. It is more general business sense rather than major industry disruption.

Let’s hope the overuse of this word in PR never comes back.

Singapore-first (also includes the first ever Singapore…)

If you work in PR or the media, you know how much we love to announce something that is the first of its kind in the market. Doesn’t matter why or what it is, it has to be the first.

There are more important things than being first. To name a few – impact, market significance, business model, growth rate, backing, and so many more. I know this, chances are everyone knows this, but we’re still going to send something out that starts with “Singapore first ever…”.

The Uber of… or Airbnb of… 

I actually do understand why people used this so much. I was just unhappy by how frequently it was used by everyone. 

When introducing something new, using a comparison or benchmark is an important way of educating and communicating the value of the product or service. So saying a brand is the Uber of [insert random industry here] is helpful at the very beginning. 

However, nowadays every company or brand that launches is the ‘Grab of…’ when they should just be an authentic version of themselves. 

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What are some overused words or phrases that you see often? We really want to know, so drop us a message at [email protected]

If you want to find out how you can do PR for your business without using too much jargon and actually creating a proper brand story, get in touch.

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