Connotations - It's all about communication
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Words have a value (at least they should have). They denote and identify things. But more than that, each word has its own ‘flavour’; it carries its own suggestions – that’s why we chose the name ‘Connotations.’

Yet these are the days of soundbites and smart phrases and labels. Words can get used in a pretty casual way. They come into fashion and get over-worked and clichéd. And labels get thrown around as if they’re explanations. And if your choice of words is the same as everyone else, then you might just have lost your uniqueness.

Ask a small group of people to take on all of the work and they’ll soon get tired, burned-out. It’s like that with words and phrases. If the same small group of words keep getting used they lose their sparkle. The energy drains away. The meaning disappears.


The metaphor of the moment is business so the words we hear are:


Brand – A label that’s now used to talk about anything from food to football clubs, countries to companies, rock stars and even political parties. So what’s unique?

Franchise – McDonalds and KFC operate as franchises. But rugby teams and novels now get called ‘franchises’; and movies . . . (‘Pirates of the Caribbean 3 – the third in the franchise . . .’). These things ought to feel quite different, and prompt different emotions – shouting for your team is one thing, but shouting for your franchise?
Industry – It used to be that airlines and engineering got called industries. The word ‘Industrial’ had a certain heavy feel to it. But now real estate has been labelled an ‘industry’ – and so has teaching and education and sports coaching (and some other lines of work we won’t mention here) . . . and so it goes. But speak of ‘education’ as an industry and something pretty significant has been stripped away.
Store – For the Bank of New Zealand the places that were once called its ‘branches’ are now spoken of as “Our stores.” And BP’s service stations are “stores.” What does that do to the picture of what goes on there?
There ought to be different flavours, subtleties, in the words we use but if the same labels keep appearing over and again, then your business difference, the thing that’s special about you, just fades away and ceases to be.