I ran across this article recently in Business Insider “Teens say they cringe when brands use these 11 outdated slang words – here’s what Gen Z is saying instead”. It’s an interesting list to check out. But not necessarily for the words themselves.
While I’m not a Gen Z, I could see how some words are “in” and others are “out”. I do wonder if the use of some slang is just subjective. For example, I don’t call Mr. Bartender my “bae” even though I am familiar with the term. However, when people ask me why we moved to Gainesville, FL, I do use the word “chill”.
I thought the article was relevant because it shows how the context of the words matter. Case in point: the Business Insider article talks about a Twitter poll from Subway asking users about their favorite bread. Or as they put it “bread bae”. But according to Gen Z, bae is “out” (“bruh” is in). So, guess what? No one answered the poll. Zero responses.
My takeaway from the article was that popular culture terminology changes. It changes with the times and with people. If you’re going to sprinkle some slang into the conversation, it needs to be the right slang. Organizations need to remember this. Both in terms of marketing and candidate and employee communications as well.
If your organization takes pride in writing non-traditional job postings, position descriptions, and company policies, then you’re going to want to stay up on the proper lingo. Because as we see in the Subway example, sometimes in an effort to be rad, hip, or lit, we can fail spectacularly. Far be it from me to tell people how to write but, sometimes it can make sense just to say, “What is your favorite bread?”
Organizations use marketing communications to attract customers, candidates, and employees. Marketing is about words.(It’s about other things too like sounds and images, but you get my point.) If we want people to engage with us, we have to use the right words. Whether that includes the latest slang or more formal semantics.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Wynwood Art District in Miami, FL15