Skip to content
Image

Here’s your top tip of the week on effective writing

Effective writing

Mercedes second-hand car salesman shows great corporate communications

Who do you trust least for truthful corporate communications: estate agents or used-car salesmen? Used-car salesmen have just dropped out of my list as a result of a great job of sales and corporate communications by Jason Leporte at the Mercedes dealership in New Maldon, London, just off the A3.

There are lessons for all of us in corporate communications to be learned from this encounter.

Not happy bunnies

We need a new car. A few weeks of searching and we found the one we wanted: a new C class Mercedes from a leasing company. And we want it new having had so much trouble with older cars. And we want it now. But the leasing company we were working with could not deliver until June. We are not happy bunnies.

Out we go this Saturday morning to look around. We arrive up at the Mercedes dealership which I thought sold new cars. No, only second hand.

Great opening line: save some money

“We are looking for a new model,” says I. “Why not try to save some money?,” says Jason. Great opening line. We start to look. And we find several C class cars at good prices, but I see a slightly taller car at a better price. A year-old B class. It’s got great good visibility: but I know nothing about cars so won’t try to be Jeremy Clarkson.

It parks itself!

It parks itself! Don’t worry, ours is right-hand drive

Sales technique

In all we will have it next Saturday. Partly because of his sales technique which included:

  • His opening offer on saving money got us interested.
  • There was no pressure. Maybe he is such a great salesman that he did pressurise us but we did not feel it.
  • He seemed interested in satisfying us.
  • It was all explained.
  • He loves his product and, as far as I could tell, genuinely.
  • He saw us change our minds for another car and a cheaper one and went with it, rather than pushing for the more expensive model.
  • He demonstrated the car well.
  • He showed us the process he was going through, turning the screen on his desk around.
  • When we got a fact about the car we are putting in for part exchange wrong, like the number of previous owners, there was no surprise or quibble.
  • He said he had been there for 11 years and his Linkedin profile says the same.

Parks itself

He said it parks itself. I thought that he meant it was easy. But it does park itself for parallel parking: he flipped some buttons, took his hands off the wheel and in it went. You car buffs know that but I was astounded. Don’t know when I shall have the courage to try that when it is ours.

And a notice to the leasing company we had been talking to: make sure you have the car available when you’re close to the deal. Deliver what you promise you can in corporate communications.

You can win a free e-learning course from ContentETC when you get the best caption in our Picture Caption Competition.  Go on, have a go.

Bemis: great slogan and needs to use it: The Best Seat in the House

How can you communicate to customers that you make the best toilet seats? After all, it’s only a toilet seat. Bemis has got a great slogan for its toilet seats: The Best Seat in the House. It’s gone as far as to register it as a trade mark.

A big but

That’s good corporate communications. But, and there is a big but if you don’t mind me saying so when dealing with toilet seats, it does not exploit that slogan. It’s on the packaging. But it is nowhere on its website. And when you put the slogan into its search facility it searches and searches, telling you it is loading and nothing comes up.

Bemis: The Best Seat in the House?

Bemis: The Best Seat in the House?

You can win a free e-learning course from ContentETC when you get the best caption in our Picture Caption Competition.  Go on, have a go.

Image

Five top tips on better writing

Effective writing

Do I have to love the subject I’m writing about?

The question came up in a session I was doing with a group of writers last week.

The answer, of course, is no.

If you are very lucky you will be able to spend a lot of time writing about the things that interest you.

Lots of us aren’t always that lucky. That’s why effective writing is about putting yourself in the place of your reader.

You may not care about the subject, but they do or you wouldn’t be writing about it. So think about:

  • what your reader cares about
  • why your reader cares
  • what your reader wants to know about the subject.

And aim to let some of their enthusiasm inform your writing along the way.

A UK internet troll seriously damaged the reputation of a US lawyer, the High Court decided yesterday.

Jason Page put a false review on Google maps about the Colorado lawyer Timothy Bussey, the Court decided.

Under the new law

Page now faces a £100,000 bill after losing the case. It is one of the first to be heard under the new law of libel in England and Wales.

Bussey got Google to tell him who wrote the review which said he was a poor lawyer. Then took his action in London.

This is not a picture of Page but of a real troll taken by Anna Bialkowska

This is not a picture of Page but of a real troll taken by Anna Bialkowska

Page should have done our new libel e-learning course. In it we explain the new law and the old law which is still in operation in Northern Ireland. You could even have the course for free if you win our picture caption completion.

You can win a free e-learning course from ContentETC when you get the best caption in our Picture Caption Competition.  Go on, have a go.

Nationwide personalises direct mail with intelligent printing

Excellent piece of corporate communications by Nationwide Building Society using direct mail. It has used intelligent printing to put the forename of the recipient on a cup of cappuccino. This one fell through the letterbox addressed to my son, Michael.

Personalised direct mail from Nationwide

Personalised direct mail from Nationwide

Plenty of direct mail comes through the door. But with this neat personalisation the chances of it being opened go right up.

You can win a free e-learning course from ContentETC when you get the best caption in our Picture Caption Competition.  Go on, have a go.

Charities get the corporate message over: well done Great Ormond St Hospital for Children

Charities have vastly improved their corporate communications in the past five years. The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children has an appeal on to raise millions of pounds to improve wards and services.  And is making a good fist of it.

Chugger wins

I was caught by a “chugger” at a station in London this week. I agreed to make a donation every month knowing the great work the hospital does. And in return I was given a booklet which said thank you. Every double-page spread had a picture of a child or a worker at the hospital and a story. And every page ended with thank you.

Thank you from the hospital

Thank you from the hospital

I felt warmed by this. If you see a chugger from the hospital don’t look away, just donate.

Child Care Action Trust

A smaller charity, the Child Care Action Trust, is also savvy. It uses house-to-house sales of a holiday competition to raise funds. And it knows its competition law. As it says on the top of the ticket: “This is not a gamble, lottery or raffle”. Instead it is a game of skill, which is legal. If it were a gamble, lottery or raffle it would have to have a licence. But the charity asks those who contribute to answer some questions and asks for an unusual fund-raising idea.

What’s the answer?

And I’ll donate another £100 to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children on behalf of the first person who can tell me, in the comment section, what is the connection between the hospital and the law of copyright.

You can win a free e-learning course from ContentETC when you get the best caption in our Picture Caption Competition.  Go on, have a go.

Bad day for Diageo’s suppliers: payment out to 90 days

Disastrous corporate communications by the drinks giant Diageo. It has told its suppliers that they won’t be paid for 90 days, up from 60. As a result it has been expelled from a government-backed scheme to promote good practice by paying on time, the Prompt Payment Code.

Following in the footsteps of Heinz

Diageo follows Heinz in lengthening its payment time to suppliers.

Diageo wrote to suppliers saying that, to improve its cash flow in order to invest more, it is making them wait 50% longer.

Damaging suppliers’ cash flow

What about the cash flow of its suppliers?

Diageo says it values its suppliers and sought to have open and fair relationships. If I follow my intention to boycott Heinz, then it’s no Guinness, no Smirnoff and no Baileys for me.

 

It might be a lovely day for Guinness but a rotten one for Diageo's suppliers

It might be a lovely day for Guinness but a rotten one for Diageo’s suppliers

 

You can win a free e-learning course from ContentETC when you get the best caption in our Picture Caption Competition.  Go on, have a go.

Heinz screws suppliers and leaves a nasty taste

Heinz is, or rather, was a great brand. Tomato ketchup, probably the best in the world next to Amoura’s. Tomato soup, delicious with a sandwich for lunch. And I can’t beat cold Heinz baked beans straight from the can.

Doubling the time to wait for payments

But is has shot itself in the foot, according to The Sunday Times. It has told suppliers they will not get paid for 97 days – up from 45 days. All in the cause of saving its own cash flow.

This damages its suppliers. Changes the terms of its contracts with them. And leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

No comment

Nobody from Heinz nor its owners, a US investor and a venture capital company, would comment on the story.

Shame on you all. I suppose it’s over to Crosse and Blackwell baked beans. I wonder what their payment period is. And what they taste like.

It's not Heinz, but the payment terms may be better

It’s not Heinz, but the payment terms may be better

You can win a free e-learning course from ContentETC when you get the best caption in our Picture Caption Competition.  Go on, have a go.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 505 other followers

%d bloggers like this: