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We work in an industry that is called ‘the communications industry’ and yet I forever hear conversations that are almost anti-communication.
We use acronyms like KOL.
We use words like synergy.
We use terms like transmedia platforms.
I can’t help but feel it’s done for one of two reasons:
1. To delude us into thinking we’re specialists.
2. To keep normal people ‘out’ of our conversations & inflate our importance & ego.
But here’s the thing, it’s not working.
Worse, it’s making us look like fucking fools.
If adland is supposed to be the bridge between companies and culture … the specialists who find ways to marry business need with cultural need … the masters of conveying emotion over rationality … how come so many of us express ourselves in a language that is the antithesis of normality?
But it’s worse than simply making us look idiots, I think it’s killing the value, potency and effectiveness of our entire industry.
I know agencies do it because they think companies want their partners to ‘speak their language’ – but in my experience, that’s not what they want.
The reality is we didn’t lose our seat at the boardroom table because we refused to speak in ‘corporate speak’, we lost it because we didn’t talk about their business, only their advertising.
I genuinely believe if we got back to communicating like ‘real people’, it would do adland the World of good.
Not just because it would remind us to always live in the World of cultural reality rather than marketing delusion, but because it might help business remember, recognise and fundamentally believe in our skills and value again.
While this has nothing to do with adland, I recently read an article in Bloomberg that – at least to me – highlighted how important it is to always communicate in the ‘real World’.
OK, so the person I am holding up as an advocate of conversation is an internationally recognised expert in his field, but my response to that is this might be one of the contributing reasons why that is the case.
First a bad example … an example that isn’t that different to some of the bollocks I hear from people in our industry:
WHAT THE FUCK!?
Seriously, what the hell is she going on about?
Fine, maybe people in her field might understand what she’s saying, but that doesn’t mean it’s right … especially when you compare it to the everyday language used in this quote:
Clear. Consise. Conversational.
I’m sure you could provide me countless quotes where Buffet has talked in the sort of corporate bollocks I’ve just slagged Esther Dyson off for, but in this case – the way he communicates not only clearly articulates his point of view, but it gives you the impression he’s a real person, who understands real people, real issues and real ways to get results.
But more than that, because he talks in a way that anyone can understand, he comes across as someone you’re more likely to want to meet – which in our industry, is something we could do with a hell of a lot more of.
I continually say to people that we need to communicate – whether in the office, with clients or in presentations – in ways our Mum’s can understand and connect with because if someone whose always going to be more interested in what we say than the average person on the street doesn’t ‘get it’, then why the hell do we think the rest of the World will be interested and moved in our views either?
I appreciate that approach make not go down well with adlands egotistical glitterati, but then, they’re not people worth worrying about.
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