“New Places” and “Next Levels” Are Ambiguous
- On February 18, 2015
When I came here, I was asked to lead the auction house to a new place, and we have successfully done that.
We elevated the collection of handbags to a place nobody had done before.
Your mission will be to develop a vision for how to take these already successful web properties to the next level, leading them to greater traffic growth and brand recognition.
I’m hosting a workshop to take the approach to the next level.
“We took it to a new place” and “We’re taking it to the next level” are frequently used to convey progress, announce triumphs, or to enlist people to move something forward. But these are vague expressions that don’t adequately describe what was accomplished—or what’s being asked.
In the first example, the outgoing head of a big auction house was talking about his legacy, but what it was, he didn’t say. The same goes for the handbag retailer (who actually claimed to have done a place). In the third example, the executive in charge of the web properties had only to say, “Your mission will be to increase traffic to these sites and awareness for the brands.” As for the fourth statement, I’m not sure what the workshop host wanted, and I wonder how many people signed up.
That’s a lot of missed opportunity.
These expressions roll off the tongue (and keyboard) because they don’t require much thinking. As I was formulating this bulletin, I found myself telling somebody that I’ve taken my writing workshops to the next level.
I had to stop and think about what I meant. It took a while, but when I articulated all the ways I’ve improved the workshops, I had some great marketing copy.
Sometimes, I suppose, you want to be vague. I wondered if that was the case when my spin instructor yelled, “I’m going to take this class to the next level.” Had she said, “I’m going to make this harder,” she might have worried we would get off our bikes and leave the room.