If you were one of the 2.9 million adults who tuned-in to a Detroit radio station last week, then no doubt you heard multiple commercials that included phrases like 'troubling times', 'uncertain times', 'unprecedented times', 'new normal', and 'we're in this together'.
In March, as the pandemic began to disrupt consumers' lives, using these phrases was a powerful way for Southeast Michigan small business owners to acknowledge the severity of the crisis and to exhibit empathy. But 120 days later, these words have become cliche and have lost potency.
A cliche, says the Oxford Dictionary, is "a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought."
According to the Writing Center at The University of North Carolina, the dependence on cliches could create a harmful perception of a business that uses them. For instance, these overused phrases can make an advertiser's message seem boring. They can be perceived as vague. They can be interpreted to be a sign of laziness. They can also result in a lack of credibility.
The words a Metro Detroit small business chooses for its advertising will have the most significant effect on sales. That's why eliminating cliches is critical.