- Our Approach
My "Solution" to the Solution Revolution: JUST SAY WHAT YOU DO, ALREADY!
I saw a commercial last night that nearly made me spit out my Cheerios. A man is riding a bicycle with tower of bread loaves stacked upon his head, happily tossing loaves to various people at every corner of the globe. It was mildly intriguing, in that I had no clue what they were selling, and then I saw the payoff tagline: Solutionism. The New Optimism. What? Solutionism? As a grammar-phile, writer, and one who generally cares about the words people use to express themselves using the king’s English, I was everything but optimistic about another solution spin-off word.
It seems that everywhere I turn, the word “solution” keeps popping up. Or, as I like to call it, the “s” word. Just last week, somebody asked me to endorse them on LinkedIn, and suggested that I refer to him as a “solutionist.” Come again? Why the obsession with referring to everything as a solution? In marketing communications, such as the commercial mentioned above, “solution” usually is a code word for “We do some rather technical, ordinary, practical (or sometimes even revolutionary) stuff, but we don’t want to talk about that.” Instead of telling you exactly what it is that they do, and risk sounding like a company that offers regular old products and services, companies today are falling into the solution trap, erroneously thinking that they’re making themselves sound more sophisticated than they really are.
Say “NO” to the “S” Word. Say “YES” to Keeping It Real.
Look, I realize that we all want to talk ourselves up a bit, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in my opinion, you’re kidding yourself if you think dropping the “s” word is going to elevate your status in the world. Take me, for example. I’m a writer, b2b marketing professional, drummer and musician. No question what I do, right? What if I started dropping the “s” word instead? I’d be a publishing solutionist, marketing solution incubator, rhythmic solution provider and auditory sensation solutioneer. Sounds great, right? No, it’s utter nonsense.
I’ve got nothing against the word “solution” itself. I’m just not a fan of how it’s been appropriated to solve the world’s insecurity crisis. Whatever happened to just saying who you are, talking about what you do, demonstrating your actual value with words that accurately describe what that is? Solutions do not differentiate. Solutions confuse, obfuscate and homogenize. Unless you’ve just found the solution to a nasty calculus equation, or are cooking up a solution in a chemistry lab, just say “no.” But if you’re leaning heavily on a solution to tell your story, I would recommend looking at a few of the other 1,013,912 words currently available to you in the English language.
Join the Solution Resistance Movement
If you’re a reader of this blog, you know that this isn’t our first salvo against the solution revolution. Chris, Jack and I have all weighed in on the subject, so I’m sorry if we sound like a broken record. But, when solutionism ruined a perfectly good bowl of cereal, I thought it was time to keep the solution resistance movement alive.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. You could start by telling me who you are and what you do.