The ‘p’ word has become one of the most overused and meaningless buzzwords of modern times.
It sits there in all its vapidity on every other website, an empty proclamation that someone actually gives a f**k, when in reality they couldn’t even be bothered find a more accurate or appropriate verb.
And it’s not just run-of-the-mill online merchants who are guilty of such unremitting verbal laziness, it’s businesses who should know better — branding agencies, digital studios, marketing companies … People who claim to understand the finer nuances of communication, who supposedly have the powers of persuasion to lead a horse to water and make it drink gallons.
A quick Google search reveals organisations who are variously ‘passionate’ about cheese, seafood, lightweight outdoor gear, pigs, trees, tool hire and coffee. Hmmm. But those love cats are put firmly in the shade by the more po-faced businesses who purport to be ‘passionate’ about customer engagement, website design, our people, company culture, creating solutions, and quality WordPress themes.
In a recent restaurant review, food critic AA Gill commented about the word’s use in menus: “the word ‘passionate, added as a fist-pump to any statement, now promotes exactly the opposite feeling of the one intended. It’s a cynical emoticon.”
I’m not sure it’s cynicism so much as carelessness. Or couldn’t care less-ness. Because it actually takes a bit of effort to think about the currency or power of a particular word. Far too often ‘about us’ copy is ‘me too’ copy, cut from the same safe cloth as the next person. But this is a real missed opportunity — a chance to differentiate, or even (gasp) do something creative or original.
Words are like food, if you eat the same meal too often it starts to lose its flavour and appeal. Ironically, the word passion, served up time after time, has lost all of its fire.
So by all means be passionate about sex, about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, mistress or lover. But please leave the word at the bedroom door, and find another more meaningful way to describe how you truly feel about your business.