There are many phrases used within the media that you may not have heard of, but you will have heard them being used. As media training experts we take a look at all these tools in our media training sessions and break them down so you can use them to your advantage when you have a media interview.
What is a Boomerang Phrase?
One of these phrases is a ‘Boomerang Phrase’, this is a phrase that is used by an individual or small number of people which is then repeated by a larger audience. Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan and ‘Black Lives Matter’ are examples of recent and widespread boomerang phrases.
These are words or phrases that perfectly capture the moment or are designed to deliver a message. They get sent out into the media ‘ether’ and come back again and again. They often, at some critical point, start being used by everyone. You may think that boomerang phrases are the product of spin doctors, hidden away in some dusty part of Whitehall, working on short quotes that will influence the public, but many boomerang phrases grow organically. Modern social media, including the use of hashtags helps these phrases grow as they are adopted by those that feel affinity with them.
Characteristics of a Boomerang Phrase
A boomerang phrase needs to be short and memorable. It also needs to be pertinent.
When Dominic Cummings left the government, the phrase that suddenly became popular was ‘the great reset’. No one quite knows where it was first used but soon it was coming out of every politician and reporter’s mouth, and it was thrust into headlines, not just here in the UK but around the world.
The key thing about boomerang phrases is that they are influential. They say something important and remind people of what the goal is. Remember ‘Get Brexit Done’ and ‘Take Back Control’? Whether you believed in Brexit or not, these two phrases dominated the discussion both pre-referendum and long afterwards.
This brings us to the most important characteristic of boomerang phrases. They endure. Unless they do, they won’t be repeated, and they won’t stick in the memory.
Using a Boomerang Phrase in Media Interviews
Boomerang phrases aren’t just for big political organisations and corporate marketing teams. They can work in any size group, and they can be a key part of media interviews, even on a small scale. You can, of course, use phrases that are already out there. The ‘great reset’ is apt if your business is going through a restructure and you want to get it across in a positive way, not just in media interviews but with your employees.
Your audience must see something in the boomerang phrase you use, however. They need to relate to it, and it must have resonance.
Successful phrases can sometimes come out of thin air but most often they need to be carefully crafted. Get it wrong and you can sound too flippant or hit the wrong buttons with your audience. It’s also important not to overuse them in interviews as you can start sounding repetitive.
Whether your boomerang phrase takes flight and then comes back, again and again, is sometimes down to luck. When it works, however, it can give you a powerful and influential communication tool in just a few short words.
For media training filled with tools, tips and techniques to help you and your team deal confidently with the media talk to Hawkeye today to book your sessions.