Innovation, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary means:

: the introduction of something new

: a new idea, method, or device : novelty

But let’s be honest – that is a very broad definition. Any manufacturer can claim that its product is new or exaggerate its significance by stating it is innovative. Many marketing departments promote this claim, assuming the words “innovative” or “innovation” will set their service or product apart from the competition. It can seem a bit like false advertising to some extent.

Now with the term so broadly used, how does a marketer help clients, leadership, or engineering understand that their service or product isn’t really worthy of the term?

It’s a tough situation. However, a good marketer will find a way to restructure the message, eliminate the overused words, and convey the same concept and excitement about a product in a more interesting fashion. There are thousands of adjectives in the dictionary – surely others can accurately represent the goods.

But when a catch phase or word dominates business marketing collateral, it’s hard to ignore. It almost becomes a stamp of approval in promoting the product.

The claim “Our product is innovative” translates to “it deserves to be offered to consumers.” For this reason, many businesses adopt the term when referencing their new product.

So, the pressure is on us, the creative brains behind the collateral. We should ask our clients or engineering departments if “ innovative”  is really an accurate description of the product. Asking the question doesn’t mean you don’t believe in the product or service, but rather, you are seeking a unique way to promote it. These open conversations reveal different perspectives and uncover new adjectives to be used for marketing purposes.

Understanding the product differentiators and building a story around those will always be more meaningful than promoting it with a commonplace adjective.