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Why it’s important to avoid superlatives in PR

By Lily Zhao

We must be cautious when claiming things are “the best” or “the worst.”


A man giving a thumbs down.It’s easy to exaggerate when you’re having a bad day – “I just had the worst day ever!” – but it’s important to choose your words carefully when it comes to making claims about your company.






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What is a superlative?

A superlative is an adjective or adverb that expresses the highest degree of quality, such as “the oldest,” “the highest,” or “the largest.” Unsourced superlatives are simply exaggerations, so let’s take a look at the importance of avoiding them.


Why is it important to avoid superlatives?

As public relations professionals, corporate communicators, and corporate storytellers, just like credible journalists, we should be careful about making bold statements without having the facts, historical data, context, or a credible third-party source to cite and verify such claims. It’s imperative you don’t say someone or something is the first to ever do something, for example, when there might be more history than you or your internal and external contacts are aware of.


What are some examples of superlatives?

Perhaps someone may have done something privately versus publicly. In this case, it’s important to say someone “might be the first-known Black female venture capitalist in Indiana,” rather than they “are,” 


In another example, Axia Public Relations founder Jason Mudd, APR, once attended a Public Relations Society of America local chapter meeting in which a new leader publicly stated this was “the largest gathering in the chapter’s history.” Yet, having been a member for nearly two decades (compared to the individual’s limited years in the organization), Mudd knew there had been other meetings with more attendees.


How can you avoid superlatives?

As a leader in your company, you must hold yourself and your team accountable for what your company says. Encourage your team to avoid using exaggerations and superlatives. Instead, use facts and research to support your claims, which will lead to higher credibility for your company.

Let the Axia team help you craft your company’s content to ensure it carries the right style and tone. To learn more about how we can help you improve your messaging without using superlatives, book a no-obligation consultation or contact us at 888-PR-FIRM-8 today.


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Photo by Mike van Schoonderwalt from Pexels

Topics: PR tips, copy editing

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