Stop Trying to be Passionate, Start Being Sincere

Passion is one of the most overused words in brand communications. For me, the final straw was reading in a Cardiff business' Twitter profile that they are 'passionate about accounting solutions'. Really? Enthusiasm for your chosen field I can understand, but passion is a very strong word, and one that is being widely misused. Passion as a descriptor should be reserved for blistering, uncontrollable emotion - you might even argue that it has no place in the world of business whatsoever. At the very least, claiming to be passionate about something as dryly functional as accountancy sounds disingenuous. When did commitment, expertise and other practical virtues stop being enough?

 "I can't control my passion! I just love processing tax returns so much!"

Claiming to be passionate in your vision statement or 'about us' page communicates one of two things about your brand; either that it lacks the distinctiveness and confidence to avoid succumbing to this latest trend or (if your business does something for which passion is a counterintuitive attribute) that you're insincere. A lack of distinctiveness is far from ideal, but insincerity is worse. Insincerity kills brands. If you want customers to engage with you, they first have to find your brand credible. If the customer thinks you're using marketing newspeak to try and ingratiate yourself into their affections, even for a moment, then the slow, steady bonding process will be fundamentally undermined.

This is why it's so important that such statements are the product of a thoroughly considered brand identity, and that the brand identity is drawn from within the business. Allowing outside trends and buzzwords to influence the development process not only results in a less credible identity, it builds a ticking time-bomb of obsolescence into your brand from the very start. It's entirely possible that 'passion' might be identified as a genuine attribute of your team, and one that should be leveraged to create a strong and vibrant brand, but even then I would question whether including the word itself in your company literature is beneficial.

If you're claiming that your business has a certain quality, then the customer needs to see that this quality is really there. When it comes to passion, the best approach really is 'show, don't tell'.


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