Honest corporate communications – why it’s worth being direct…

Irrelevant SignI recently finished reading John Simmons‘ book We, Me, Them & It – How to Write Powerfully for Business, and was delighted to read this:

“Instead of saying ‘We’re committed to quality’, say ‘We check everything’. It just means a little bit more.”

Now what Simmons is espousing is honesty and directness. This kind of frank language is often frowned upon in business. Corporations think they must retain a lofty image. But who wants to do business with a distant, faceless corporation? People do business with people, so I think it makes much more sense to appeal to people with language that actually says something.

These days more and more businesses are realising the value of being human, and their copy and communications reflect this. As more people realise how refreshing it is to be addressed as a human, by a human, the more businesses will drop their formal, stuffy attitude.

But going back to the quote from John Simmons’ book- the interesting thing is that thousands of corporations say dull things like, “we’re committed to quality”, and thousands of people hear these messages and they roll over them, like another forgettable wave lapping the same tired coast. Such statements are forgettable because they’re meaningless. What does “committed to quality” mean? Committed to quality – in what way? How do you demonstrate that?

But “we check everything” tells how they’re committed to quality. It tells you: we care about what we do. We care enough to check.

(Picture courtesy of Tim Parkinson – [please note the picture hasn’t got much to do with this post])


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