Words That Help Us Get Through the Day
Learn Some Britton Marketing & Design Group Office Jargon
Every industry has its own language, the jargon that greases the wheels of efficiency every day. Fluency comes relatively quickly to anyone who has spent even a small amount of time in a field. And it’s difficult, and sometimes awkward, for someone who is not fluent in an industry’s language to try to speak it. I witness this myself when I try to converse with my wife by speaking Insurance. “Did you get your ten ones done?” She merely looks askance at me to relay that she knows I can’t even speak remedial Insurance.
That’s OK, because I speak Marketing—well, I can speak the Brittonian dialect of Marketing. At Britton Marketing & Design Group we use jargon every day, which helps us in at least three ways: It makes projects flow more smoothly; it probably increases productivity (I say “probably” because I have no empirical evidence to support this claim); and we sound really cool when we speak it (readers’ definitions of “cool” may vary).
What follows are a few examples of words we use way more between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. than any other time of day. But be warned, this lexicon is highly addictive, and you may find yourself stealing some of these for your everyday conversations. (The last sentence was highly sardonic, as we fully expect that you will leave these words exactly where you found them.)
How’s the traffic today? Well, at BMDG it flows effortlessly every day, and it has nothing to do with our vehicles or our parking lot. It has to do with how our traffic manager, Melissa Hoch, navigates projects through the thorny journey from conception to delivery. Melissa deals with account managers, art directors, creative directors, graphic artists, production artists, copywriters, copy editors, and proofreaders—all of whom touch the project at various times and have various individual needs—while managing schedules and deadlines with the deftness of an acrobat juggling fire while taming a lion (try that one, Ringling Bros.). Multiple projects are on the highway of production at one time, and Melissa makes sure that they all get to their destinations with no pileups along the way.
Hey, we all love impressions. For some extremely good ones, check out Ross Marquand. But at BMDG, when we use the word impressions, we are more than likely making reference to social media, as in how many times a post from our page is displayed. It’s not the same as reach, which tells us the number of people that have seen our post, and it’s not the same as engagement, which, well, tells us how much our readers are engaging with us, whether it’s through views, clicks, comments, likes, or shares. We’d like to make an impression on you, but don’t expect the voice talent of Ross Marquand.
No, this has nothing to do with People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive (sorry, Rock fans, we have no pictures for you). Our hot has to do with the No. 6 definition on Merriam-Webster’s list: of intense and immediate interest. Hot as in this project needs to be addressed pronto (a great word in itself). If our traffic manager says that something is “hot,” you’d better be prepared to work your magic on it so it can move along in the process. This means we need to move off our lukewarm and cool projects to tend to it. It should be noted that no one is sure what the highest recorded Fahrenheit reading for a project is.
Read this paragraph and learn more. Visit BrittonMDG.com for more information. Look at you! You just learned what a call to action is. When we place a call to action in a document, we are looking to engage the reader, with the hope of a getting a response or an interaction. It’s a way that brands can better understand their consumers’ needs and wants. Share your thoughts about the Britton Blog in the comments section below. (See, I did it again.)
We are ever vigilant to make sure that quotation marks are curly—or “smart.” Those around the word smart are good to go. Do you know which ones are not? These "dumb" ones. (Ugh, they are not pretty! And don’t even get associate creative director Ringo Santiago started on this topic.) The same applies to apostrophes. This one's wrong. This one’s right. It’s a thing of beauty, as a matter of fact. We use straight (prime) marks for feet and inches. There is a nifty setting in Word that will assure that you are using the correct ones. And if you can’t figure that out, ask one of BMDG’s copy editors—they spend a fair part of their workdays saying, “That should be curly.”
Although it’s a combination of basketball and hockey terms, press check has nothing to do with sports. It is much more colorful than that—literally. When a Brittonian goes on a press check, she is making sure that the piece on press is adhering to the previously approved color proof. A four-color proof will have its CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, but of course you already knew that part) levels adjusted to near perfection. The type of paper the final piece is printed on is important as well, as it can dictate how cool or warm the imagery feels. The piece is also checked to make sure nothing “fell off,” like words from the copy or images, and for registration (separation alignment), color fluidity (color matching), and anything else that doesn’t look appealing (scratches, dirt, ink stains, etc.). So if you want a strong final product, make sure you go on the press check—and make sure you take a talented BMDG production artist with you.
It’s a noun (“I sent you a slack”). It’s a verb (“I slacked you”). You can archive documents. It makes fries (no, it doesn’t). Oh, Slack, is there anything you can’t do? The word Slack is used 843 times a day at BMDG, and every time it has to do with our real-time messaging system. It’s an excellent way for Brittonians to keep track of the progress of a job and share information and notes. It does many, many things to help us communicate with one another, so many that we periodically have classes—held by our Slack guru, Nic Hulting, director of online content strategy—to learn more of its features. Nic takes these opportunities to point out to us that Slack is not merely a way to post Giphys and cool emojis (what a killjoy).
“You’re being audited” are not words most people want to hear. But there is an exception. This exception happens when our digital team audits a brand’s online presence. We perform these analyses to give companies an in-depth look at their social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), website, and additional digital properties. In addition to the statistical analysis, BMDG offers ways for a brand to improve its engagement—its interaction—with its consumers. Since we live in a digital world now, it only makes sense for a brand to maximize its content and its effect.
In the “regular world” (and by “regular,” I mean the world that functions just fine—and probably less neurotically—without thinking every day about the intricacies of punctuation), there is the hyphen, which is frequently referred to as a “dash,” and there are two hyphens, which traditionally stand in for a dash (or what we refer to as an em dash). But—now prepare to have your mind blown here—there is also something called an en dash. I know, right? Exciting stuff. An en dash is approximately the length of the letter n, and we use it primarily for ranges. We use it, I would guess, (en dash alert!) 10–12 times a day. It’s not a hyphen (en dash’s little brother, who, among his other jobs, creates compound modifiers), and it’s not an em dash (en dash’s big brother, who indicates an interruption in thought or a parenthetical element). So get to know the en! He is located at the intersection of the OPTION and HYPHEN keys on your Mac keyboard.
Have you ever been strolling down an aisle of your favorite store and made the turn into the next aisle and boom! you see a display at the end and think, Boy oh boy, that is one fancy display? Well, it’s more than a fancy display, discerning reader. What you witnessed on your stroll was an endcap. Brands use them to focus attention on a particular product. And what better way to get attention than with some beautiful design (hey, we at BMDG do that!) and some fascinating copy (ditto!)? The next time you see a nifty endcap, just remember all the creativity that went into it.
When did hashtags take over our lives? They were nothing more than a rarely thought-about pound sign on our phones just a few years ago. Now? Well, now I can’t watch a television show without wading through a stream of hashtags (#FarewellRectify—yes, I know; I am trying to watch the final season, but I am having trouble seeing the actors underneath that plethora of words and octothorps [#firstworldproblems]). What purpose do these hashtags serve? Well, they help us converse on and learn about specific topics on social media. For example, in regard to my #FarewellRectify example, I could take to Twitter (#alliteration) and discuss what is one of the finest television dramas of our time. That’s basically it. If you want to learn more, you should contact Devon Aragona or Kara Hackett, our social media managers and digital storytellers. (Hey, that was another CTA!)
Ah, leading (pronounce it ledding). Not leading, as in the Pacers are leading (hey, it happens once in a while). Leading—a wonderful graphic-design term—is what is enhancing your enjoyment of this sterling piece of prose. Leading is the space between lines in copy, and it helps with readability. It is a thing of beauty when it is 1.2. Of what, you ask? Well, 1.2 times the size of the font. If it is a 10-point font, then the ideal leading is 12. If there is too much leading, then—
whoa, I hope you didn’t get hurt in the fall!—you get space like this. If there is not enough leading, well, everything gets all tight and you can’t tell the ascenders from the descenders—more great graphic-design terms.
Color is kind of a big deal with us. We (and when I say we, I mean BMDG designers; I am a mere wordsmith, and that’s kind of pushing it; I’m really more of a word apprentice) pride ourselves on our knowledge of it, and we rely on the power of Pantone to help us make every color perfect by using the company’s Color Matching System. For example, if a client wants Pantone Blue 072 C, well, we can match that exactly because of the number. We are fussy here. We are perfectionists. And Pantone enables us to perfect our fussiness.
Style is another big thing with us. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at how fashionable we are. Look how fancy we look in our schmancy clothes. Wait. I was just informed that when we refer to a style guide, it has nothing to do with Vogue or Esquire. OK, I’m back on track now. We follow our clients’ style guides to ensure consistency of their brands. These guides give us standards for the proper use of colors, logos, typography, trademarks, and copy, among other details. We also create style guides for clients. In a way, I guess that we are style mavens, but we would give advice more like this: “Is that the font you are going to use? Oh, no one is sporting Comic Sans anymore.”
“Colonel Mustard, with the wrench, in the conservatory.” Wrong? Of course! Wait, a clue! Let me try again. “Digital manager Chris Henke, with the coding, in The Observatory.” Yes! That’s better. Our Observatory is a nod to all things digital content. Its denizens write code. They analyze. They design. They create videos. They rule the land of social media. They beep when you talk to them. When one of them feels under the weather, they say they have a “glitch.” Now that I think about it, it’s all very Westworldian.
Speaking of the Observatorians (which sounds a lot like what you would call groupies of Neil deGrasse Tyson), they follow a thing called Content Cartography, which is the method in the madness. Content Cartography “guides our creation of content (and the processes of creating content), curation and sharing of content (and the governance, channels, and editorial management), distribution of content (and optimizing native-channel features, frequencies, management, and listening), and repurposing of content.” Uh, that’s impressive. It’s a quote from a 2015 blog by our content expert, Nic Hulting (again with Hulting? see Slack). Want some more information? This is from a blog published earlier this year: “It’s about playing by the rules of the search engines—and algorithms—that determine if your content will be seen to its full potential, while creating structured, purposeful, and hyperengaging branded content.” As you can see, content creation is about more than just slapping some words on a screen, like a simple copy editor might do, in a feeble attempt to be humorous and entertaining. Hey, has anyone seen my copy of BMDG’s Content Cartography?
In the weeds
Also known as going down a “bunny trail,” being “in the weeds” means to go to deep into a document. Speaking for the copy editors, when someone hands us a document and asks us to “just take a quick look at it,” it means that we should not get “in the weeds.” We should check for spelling and major errors. We should not get out our copies of Garner’s Modern American Usage and research fused participles or split infinitives or subjunctives. But as copy editors it is difficult. We are natural nitpickers (which, by the way, was the name of my band in college). If we see some weeds, we feel an irresistible urge to jump into them and see what we can see. But in some instances we can’t. We know that. It’s for the sake of efficiency, and because if we do, we will get side-eye from our traffic manager. (See Traffic.)
For crying out loud, this blog has reached 2,400 words and I have written about only 17 jargon terms! What about synesis, initialism, slicing, handle, coding, thin space, clear space, virgule, gutter, and BTS? Ack! How are you ever going to learn to speak the language?! (That last sentence was just begging for an interrobang.) Let’s just leave it at this: If you ever visit the land of BMDG, one of us will help interpret. And if you already speak the language? Well, just ask us how our omnichannel planning is going.