Strapline clichés to avoid #2: any strapline that includes the word “passion” (but especially if it’s combined with “excellence”)

Sooo, the last person on a final salary pension left the firm years ago. Repeated rounds of redundancies have left people wondering if they’re next out the door.

And you’ve just asked your workers to take a pay cut because “we all need to pull together to survive the recession” (and, ahem, because your now departed chief financial officer decided to refinance the company with a derivative contract that his investment bankers told him would make him look great in front of his boss. Jeez, what kind of an idiot agrees to be on the other side of a bet with an investment bank?)

But despite all this, you still think your employees have an intense, emotional attachment to their work. And that the phrase “a passion for excellence” captures exactly how your firm gets things done.

Well, I hate to break it to you but “a passion for excellence” has already been co-opted by pretty much every other type of business, from estate agents to wine-makers to financiers to logistics solutions providers (whatever that means).

And sorry, but if you’re thinking that perhaps you’ll combine the “passion” cliché with the alliteration cliché, you’ll find that hotels, PR experts and cleaning firms are just some of the companies that have already laid claim to “a passion for perfection”, while Deutsche Bank has put its name to “a passion to perform”.

The way to overcome this problem, of course, is to indulge in that favoured activity of marketers – unbridled linguistic inflation.

Unfortunately, the slightly mad-sounding “an obsession with excellence” is already doing the rounds.

So how about “a compulsion to perform”? Or “neurotic about perfection”? “Completely anal about excellence”?

As far as I’m aware, they’re all still up for grabs. Get ’em before they go!