CINCINNATI - In jargon town, you must get on the bus to achieve a paradigm shift that brings all stakeholders a return on investment that’s well above par value.
Or, you could just go along to get along.
Sure, business leaders talk funny. But if you want to join their club, it wouldn’t hurt to speak their language, right?
So, as a public service, WCPO offers this introductory course on business jargon, with a special emphasis on phrases popular in Cincinnati.
On the bus. Covington developer Bill Butler helped to make this phrase from the "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" popular in Northern Kentucky business circles. If you’re “on the bus,” you’re a team player who won’t get left behind.
Paradigm Shift. Physicist Thomas Kuhn coined this phrase in the 1960s to describe a fundamental change in scientific concepts or practices. Marketing execs adopted it in the 1990s to describe their game-changing sales plans.
Stakeholders. This is a word that dates back to the 1700s, referring to a person that holds the money or property that’s being bet by gamblers. Business leaders have adopted the word to describe those that might affect or be affected by a company’s actions, including lenders, employees, unions, investors and governments.
But anyone can Google to find those definitions. What about business jargon invented in Cincinnati? To learn more about those, take this quiz:
If you didn’t get every answer right, don’t worry. Even the executives who invented the phrases are evolving their definitions. Macy’s M.O.M. strategy, for example, is changing in the wake of a five-quarter sales slump that caused activist investors to pressure the company into selling off prime real estate.
“We evolve as we go,” Macy’s Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet told Wall Street analysts in April. “The customer today wants personalization, not necessarily in store, but online. You know, stop sending me the irrelevant emails. When I pull up my homepage, why isn't it the stuff I care about?”
Hoguet said Macy’s is moving away from the in-store focus of its M.O.M. strategies and toward “active supervision” of customer contacts with stores, digital platforms and call centers.
“We have so many customer touch points,” she said. “And, look, everybody's had good, hopefully, and some bad experiences with us, and we just try to keep improving the bad. So that – obviously, that will continue forever.”
P&G’s “moments of truth” are a bit squishy too.
The consumer-products giant coined this term in 2005 to describe the few seconds in time that can make a consumer loyal to a brand for years. It’s a moment in which marketing messages combine with package design, in-store displays and price/value comparisons that people can make without conscious thought.
Here’s how CEO David Taylor described it in February: “A winning package is distinctive, familiar and appealing. It answers the three questions: Who am I, what am I, and why am I good for you?”
The first moment of truth is the decision a consumer makes at the shelf. The second moment happens when the consumer brings the product home and tries it. There is also a “zero moment” that happens when consumers go online to search for a product.
And former P&G exec Pete Blackshaw defined a “third moment” for consumers who like your product enough to recommend it to friends and social-media followers. So, that’s four moments in all. Unless you don’t count Blackshaw’s contribution, or you want to be a math stickler who thinks the third moment plus the zero moment equals three.