Changing landscape of buzzwords and keywords

Note: This is written in a lighter vein. It is not an attempt to trivialise the situation we are all in. 

Buzz words and keywords in business communication were never so universal as it is now. Earlier, we used words focused on our business, our customers, and other stakeholders. It differed from business to business and industry to industry. Now due to COVID-19, they have become universal and domain agnostic. Here are five keywords I have chosen that we seldom used before 2020 and have become a must-have in our messaging. We use some more often than others, as these are linked closely to business operations. 

  1. New Normal
  2. Social Distancing 
  3. Flatten the curve
  4. Pandemic
  5. Herd Immunity

New Normal

Some consultancies also term this as New Reality. We hear this used everywhere. Sample this. The world is in disarray, and that’s the new normal. The mask has masked our identities, and that’s the new normal. Work from home is the new normal. Education has moved online, and that’s the new normal. The economy will witness a lot of turbulence for months to come, and that’s a new normal. Good health practices like washing hands frequently is a new normal. In short, what we were and what our surroundings were has disappeared.

Social Distancing

We never thought our daily life is going to be measured by 6 feet and 2 meters. Social distancing is a non-pharma manner of preventing infection. A decrease in contact between people helps slow down the rate and extent of disease transmission. These days a reference to social distancing and its rigorous enforcement is there in most of our communication. The virus has taught us a sense of restriction, and we are periodically reminded of the lesson.

Flatten the curve

In the business growth context, flatten the curve is ominous. It can mean either stagnation or negative growth of the business. Now, in pandemic time, the world is praying the isolation measure helps in the virus flattening the curve. Political conversations are around protective practices that help slow the rate of COVID-19 infection.


Pandemic and outbreak are regularly used. According to WHO, “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death” Leadership communication talking about economy, growth and outlook on most occasions uses this word. 

Herd Immunity

We, in India, know about herd mentality too well. Wiki explains herd immunity as, “a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune.” We these days hear many talks about this from scientists and medical professionals to economists and CEOs.

These words are necessary in current times. Some of us subconsciously may be overusing it. What other keywords have you noticed? Do share.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Radha Radhakrishnan
Radha Radhakrishnan has over 25 years of experience in corporate communications and marketing across different industries and geographies. She has built a reputation as a storyteller and a creative thinker. She has mentored social entrepreneurial startups and has been a visiting faculty at premier communications institutes in India. She is currently the global head of corporate communications at Wipro Enterprises. She anchors the weekly PR and Communication podcast, Mrigashira.

1 Comment on "Changing landscape of buzzwords and keywords"

  1. Thanks Radha, agree, these 5 words are ubiquitous in most conversations today!

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