let’s put passion out of fashion.

This particular ‘p’ word has become one of the most overused and meaningless buzzwords of modern times.

It sits there, preening in its vainglorious vacuity on every other website, an empty proclamation that someone actually gives a monkeys, when in reality, persons responsible just couldn’t be bothered to find a more appropriate or arresting 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 one of his effortlessly brilliant restaurant reviews, the late food and TV critic AA Gill got stuck into 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.”

Perhaps it’s not 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 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 actually feel about your business.

click to download pdf.