Why does it matter if you say it like everyone else?


Starbucks real food sign
Oh come on, Starbucks. Try to say something interesting. At least try.

Think of all the money spent developing new products.

Think of all the time invested in tweaking and testing and tasting and meeting and discussing—are you the chief marketing officer of a major restaurant chain? You are? Nice to meet you. So, question: did you promote that key offering as succulent and mouth-watering, grilled to perfection then served piping hot?

I bet you did.

You took something you believed in, and spoke of it as if it were typical.

Or maybe in your heart, you knew it was typical?

Or you ran out of time.

Or you didn’t feel confident deviating from “best practices” in communication, which, in the field of Professional Communication, means “what everybody else says” which is a pretty good definition of a cliché. And a cliché is what you say when you aren’t thinking, and don’t really notice if you communicate.

You’re not alone. Starbucks printed a whole lot of copies of that poster.

So… does that make you feel better?

Uh-oh. That’s called Schadenfreude.