Activation to zeitgeist: A to Z of terrible PR jargon (according to the PRWeek Power Book)

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Activation to zeitgeist: A to Z of terrible PR jargon (according to the PRWeek Power Book)

PRWeek is delighted to bring you this very unique rundown, siloed alphabetically, of the worst industry jargon according to PRWeek UK Power Book entrants - the Power Book launched last week, click here to view it.

PRWeek doesn't neccessarily agree with every choice: Greta? Diversity? PR...? But it's a useful checklist to help avoid eye rolls and sinking hearts next time you reach out to, or jump on a call with, colleagues, clients or peers.

So... let's nut this out.

A: Activation, agent of change, agile, a hundred per cent, align/aligned/alignment, at the end of the day, astroturfing, authentic/authenticity, AVEs, award-winning, awesome!

B: Back to back, BAME/BME, bandwidth, being 'across' something, blue-sky thinking, boomer, boutique-style advice, brand journey, ‘[brand X] taps [agency X] as AOR, Brexit, briefing, Brits, buzz.

C: Cadence, can you action that?, cascade, chemistry meeting, circle back, co-creation, collaborate/collaboration, communicate this, consumer, content, content atomisation, corpsumer, creative, creative tension, credentialize, crowded field, curate.

D: Deadline, deep dive, delighted, deliverables, desksides, digital, direction of travel, disruptive/disrupter, diversity, diversity champion, do more with less, double click on that, double down, drain, drill down, drumbeat.


E: Earnings, easy win, eatery, engagement, engaging, evergreen content, eyeballs.

F: Fake news, femvertising, fiscal [year], fish where the fish are, flat out.

G: Game-changer/game-changing, gem, going forward, granular/granularity, greenwashing, Greta, groundbreaking.

H: Hard stop, hard-working press office, #hashtag, hijack, holding the pen, holistic approach, horizontality, how do we go viral?

I: I can't really explain it but I don't feel these ideas are quite right, iconic, ideation, I hear you, I hope you are well?, I’m just following up our last exchange, impressions, incredibly, inflection point, innovative, insight, integrated, influencer, it is what it is.

J: Jargon, journey, jump on a call, just (as in, ‘I’m just calling to...’), just-in-time organisation.

L: Ladder up, landscape, lean in, learnings, let’s elevate this, let’s take this offline, levelling up, leverage, liquid to lips, LOL, loop me in, low-hanging fruit.


M: Managing expectations, manifesto, marketing mix, matrix management structure, measurement, millennial, move the needle, much anticipated.

N: Narrative, native advertising, newsjacking, nut this out.

O: OMG, on-boarding, on-going, one-pager, outreach, optics, OTS, oven-ready.

P: Passion, people’s [something], piece, ping, pivot, platform, play in this space, popping, PR, PR-able, PR disaster, press release, procurement, purpose, push the envelope.


R: Raising awareness, reach, reach out, reinvent the wheel, relatable, retro-fit, reverse engineer, ring round, ROI.

S: Scale up, scrappy, selling in, silo, slideware, smoke and mirrors, snowflake, so (to start a sentence), socialise (in relation to social media), social listening, social media, social-media bubble, social purpose [see: purpose], solutions, soup to nuts, speaks to, spin, stakeholders, storytelling, strategy/strategic, super, surprise and delight, swim lanes, symbiotic, synergy.

T: The sector, think outside the box, thought shower, timings are tight, touch base, to your point, tracking, trust.

U: Unpack.

V: Very unique, via.

W: Wash-up session, -wash (eg: greenwash, ethics wash etc.), weapons-grade monitoring, what does success/good look like?, wheelhouse, woke, woke capitalism, world class.

Z: Zeitgeist.

The final comment goes to Jennifer Scardino, senior executive VP and head of global comms at Banco Santander:

The industry jargon or buzzword that annoys me most is… "It’s a long list, so I will lean into this transparently; my value-added here is to object – seriously now – to our overuse of euphemisms and acronyms. We need to speak with our stakeholders clearly. (I co-created this response with my teammates in an innovative/agile/crowd-sourced methodology).

More from the 2020 Power Book:

Who's in? PRWeek launches UK Power Book and lists lead players in each sector

In Pictures: PRWeek UK Power Book 2020 launch

From the editor-in-chief: Putting the most powerful PR pros under the spotlight

PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Top 10 in retail comms (in-house)

PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Top 10 in corporate and financial comms (agency)

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