Absolutely nothing. Both words are completely meaningless and yet I see countless IT and tech companies determined to stuff them into their copy at every opportune moment.
I remember being at university, sat in the dimly lit lecture theatre as my tutor delivered a class on strategic marketing management. He shared this little nugget with us:
“You should use the word ‘solution’ whenever you can because it can mean anything.”
At the time I remember thinking this was the ultimate productivity hack because if everything is a solution, my positioning, messaging and copy could never be wrong. Then I started working in the wonderful world of IT and tech. I read page after page after page of copy stuffed with ‘this solution’ and ‘that solution’ – it all sounded the same and left me with one big question: ‘What?!?!!’.
And that’s the problem – the word ‘solution’ means absolutely nothing because it can mean anything.
Then you have ‘requirements’, which is the other side of the story because before you know what solution to implement you need a good understanding of the client’s requirements…
But what does it mean?
Absolutely nothing, because again, anything could be a requirement.
Sat here writing this I could say:
“My requirements included fixing a sugar craving that caused immense frustration, so my husband delivered a chocolate-based solution.”
Or I could say:
“I wanted sugar so my husband bought me a Twirl.”
In the first instance, the sentence sounds so cold, corporate, and full of BS. Whereas the second statement is personal and easy to understand.
Because I’ve stripped out the fluff and inserted detail, which makes it easier for you to visualise me sat in front of my computer eating that delicious purple chocolate bar. It’s through visualisation that you encourage your audience to feel something and make the emotional connection that hooks them in.
If you truly are a subject matter expert…
I beg you to drop the word ‘solution’ from your vocabulary and switch it for the thing you actually do. Instantly , it will boost your credibility, strengthen your positioning and make what you have to say memorable.
Rather than use ‘solutions’ think about switching it for:
Better still, go one step further to think about the outcome your ‘solution’ helps the audience to achieve. Change:
- ‘big data solutions‘ to ‘software that analyses big data sets faster and delivers the insights needed for more timely decision making’
- ‘cloud solutions’ to ‘cloud migration that helps you move mission critical systems without disrupting business-as-usual’
- ‘cyber security solutions’ to ‘cyber security technologies that strengthen your security posture by knowing what’s ‘normal’ for your environment and alerting you to questionable behaviours’
Hopefully you get the idea. Switch a nothing word, for a meaningful one and it instantly resonates better with your audience.
You probably think I’m being crazy
As a writer I’m exposed to terrible writing daily, and over time you can’t help but develop pet hates for words that make you visibly shudder – like ‘utilise’, ‘consultant’, ‘trust’, and ‘partner’.
Words carry meaning. Use the wrong ones and you wrap your brand in a blanket of fluff and fade into the noise. Use the right ones and you instantly stand out, because your audience knows exactly what you offer – and how it benefits them.
Make one simple change to your content today and banish the word ‘solutions’ from your brand vocabulary.