Is ‘solutions’ the most over-used word in the dictionary?

This entry was posted on Friday, June 17th, 2011 at 6:09 PM

It may only comprise eight letters but the word ‘solution’ can drive me to hysterical rants. I really do loathe it. It’s just so over-used in marketing copy, and worse still, as part of a company name.

Businesses seem to think it makes them sound dynamic and professional. Well it doesn’t. It makes them seem dull, unimaginative, dated, and as a PR friend of mine suggested – ‘lazy-brained’.

The same friend actually spotted a van yesterday sporting the company name ‘Just Solutions’. Oh dear. Maybe it’s a tongue in cheek attempt to poke fun at the ridiculous and much maligned use of the word. Then again maybe not.

In what was obviously a solutions induced obsessive few minutes he sent me the link to the website of Moving Solutions – oh yes – a removal company.

I’m just as obsessed though. One of my favourite ways to tackle the boredom of the drive to Manchester from Surrey, is to spot the most laughable use of the word (I can’t even bring myself to write it for the moment) on the HGVs trundling up the motorway.

So what’s the alternative? I’d suggest it’s never a good idea to use it as part of a company name but how do you avoid using it in your copy? It depends on the context of course. I’ve seen people use it instead of ‘services’, when ‘services’ is exactly the right word to use.

My advice is always to be clear about what you’re telling your readers. Say it like it is. Don’t dress it up in words that you think make you sound smart, professional, and dynamic because chances are they’ll have the opposite effect. And of course you run the risk of confusing people or giving out the wrong message.

So if you’re a haulage company don’t claim to offer ‘logistics solutions’. If you provide IT services don’t shy away from that by offering ‘IT solutions’. And there’s nothing wrong with telling prospects that you can solve their problems rather than offer them ‘solutions’.

Phew. I feel better for that. Now it’s time for me to find a nutritional solution for my evening meal.

Thanks to Bill Hunt for suppling the solutions for this post.



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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

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