Personal blog of Alicia Fowler, aka @aliciaef, senior strategist at FutureBrand. Topics covered include brands, branding, technology, and space, and more!

Go ahead, be impactful

 Rounding out the post of words I will not say, my other quasi-word nemesis is


Some sources, I lament to say, have declared this a word. When dictionary.com picks it up, I don't really bother noticing. When Merriam-Webster notes it, I pause, but then remember MW permits irregardless so I remain leery. However, when Oxford includes it, I must admit defeat. 

Even though I've lost, I will still not use this verbum novum. Why? Well to me, it's the wet blanket of descriptions and the obscurer of ideas.

As a wet blanket, "impactful" is right up there with "nice" and "interesting" (future post forthcoming). What will I write with the prompt "impactful"? Nothing as good as with the prompt "infectious."

As an obscurer, "impactful" hides our true objective. Do we want our message to resonate with an audience? Do we want it to move them? Do we want to be noticed? Of course the answer is always emphatically "all of the above! It has to be impactful".

Yet precision is key to good writing, at least in marketing. I don't just mean precision of target and media, I mean precision of objective. Within a focused objective, we can let creativity explode. Without that focus, our message will be all things to all audiences. And unless I'm selling air, some people will not want what I'm selling—and that is okay. A healthy pruning of objective, audience, and words allows a good idea to flourish.

So, no, "impactful", your sound will not cross my lips until I've either lost my love for adjectives or become the world's best mindreader. Until then, I'll continue to fight for the right word and continue to figure out our true objective.