In marketing copy, I see this phrase a lot. Is ‘in the heart of’ a cliche? When people use it in a lazy, meaningless way, my first instinct is to remove it if at all possible.
It doesn’t tend to appear on lists of ‘worst marketing buzzwords‘ but I would still put it on my list of phrases to avoid, especially in a construction products context.
Examples: why ‘in the heart of’ is a cliche
A recent example referred to a project provided building components for the NEC. The Exhibition Centre was being described as being ‘in the heart of’ the West Midlands.
‘In the heart of’ is just a flowery way of saying ‘in the centre of’. This is one reason to avoid it. In construction marketing, it is my opinion that overly decorative language serves no purpose. Get to the point and convey the facts. Your audience need facts and information to do their job, whether that is specifying products or assessing a tender document.
Although the heart is a metaphor for the centre of something, ‘in the heart of’ also implies an emotional connection with a location. Does your business or location have a strong emotional connection, with its wider location? If so, then you can use a phrase like this to evoke a connection with your reader.
It is worth stopping to think whether it’s appropriate to try to conjure up emotion in your marketing. At the heart of this security fence is a unique anti-vandal fixing system. It’s true that theft and vandalism are emotionally upsetting for the victims, but for a public sector buyer or urban design specifier this is not relevant!
When it is OK to use ‘in the heart of’
When is it appropriate to use emotion when marketing building products?
An example of appropriate use is the strapline on the signage for my home town, Stirling – ‘Scotland’s heart’. The historical connection between this location and Scotland as a country is relevant and there’s a play on William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace, who fought and won the famous battle in 1314 at Bannockburn.
This is a marketing identity though, not a construction product. For the most part, when we are marketing building components, emotion shouldn’t be high on the list of requirements.
I racked my brain for suitable examples – ceramic tiles or made in the Stoke area could be described as ‘made in the heart of the Potteries’. The area’s association with earthenware could be used to show a manufacturer’s heritage and traditional skills.
Maybe public art could be designed with a strong connection to its location, and legitimately be described as being ‘in the heart of’ a town. What about historic buildings?
Let me know what you think in the comments.