Gut-Punch Messaging

Your messaging has to punch in the gut, not the hip bone, to have power

Here’s the punchline: the essence of niche-market brand messaging is accurate and frank words.

Here’s a question.

Which group experiences more suicidal ideation – vets or vets? That is – war veterans or veterinarians?

I don’t know but I think it’s the latter. Bear with me. We know that there’s a higher suicide rate among veterinarians (and veterinary technicians) than among ER doctors. That’s because they witness even more death.

Actually, they don’t just witness death. And here’s what articles on the subject don’t say plainly – vets kill lots of animals

Not just any animals either. They kill pets – cats and dogs. Consider that the latter of the two have acquired neotenous, human-like characteristics, through eons of breeding. Translation: vets kill animals that literally resemble our children.

That’s just part of the job.

Suicide really can be classified as an epidemic in my profession
– Dr. Will McCauley, former Texas veterinarian

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Of course, vets don’t murder animals. Just as soldiers don’t murder enemy soldiers (non-soldiers, that’s another story). But vets do – compassionately – put animals to sleep, to reduce their suffering in old age, illness or injury.

We don’t like to use the word kill because, like many short, precise words (which often have an old English, not a Latin origin), it punches you in the gut. Such words don’t punch you in the ribs, hip, or shoulder, where bones shield the organs.


If we used accurate words rather than euphemisms and scientific terminology, it wouldn’t surprise us much to learn about the high rate of suicide among veterinarians.

Not that euphemisms are inherently bad; sometimes we need a little protection from hard things.

But most of you don’t deal in hard things; you deal in positive business outcomes. So remember the power of accuracy in your messaging. Instead of putting to sleep or neutralizing enemy forces – or their business-world equivalents – use short, accurate, native-English words.

Have a great week ahead,