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It's time to drop the BS*

Posted on Sep 06, 2017 by Rachel  | Comments (0)

all you need is lol

Last month, Netmums hit the headlines again. This time, some big name brands weren’t happy because their ads were appearing next to forum posts containing ‘offensive’ and ‘foul’ language.

This got me thinking.

What kind of language should a business use or not use (or even be associated with) in its marketing?

When I sat down to write this post I could remember reading the article but had no idea where. A quick Google search using the terms ‘Netmums, advertisers and pulling out’ led me straight to an article on the site where a bunch of Mums were discussing the ‘withdrawal method’.

Well, it made me chuckle. 

But do the likes of the National Trust and Confused.Com have a point? Are they right to be offended? Or simply out of touch with their customers?

Know your audience

Pretty early on in my career I was taught that the first rule of marketing and communications is to ‘know your audience’.

Back then the world of business was awash with its own language. This BS* – or business speak – is full of technical jargon that's completely unfathomable to outsiders. Pretty soon, words like 'stakeholder' and 'delivery' were excluded from my writing repertoire. 

These days many company websites still bombard readers with technical phrases and terms that leave the reader utterly clueless. 

Embrace the language of the digital age

Part of my work involves helping clients to ditch the BS to embrace a more informal tone and clearer language for their websites, marketing and other communications. They do this by a) knowing who their clients are and b) speaking to them in a language they use and, more importantly, understand.

My point is... 

As someone who occasionally visits Netmums, likes to visit nice places, has a fully insured car in the drive and who… er… swears a bit (alright then, a lot) I’d say that more businesses should ditch the BS and start to embrace the language their existing and potential customers use. Who knows, it may even give them the opportunity to create an edgier and more successful marketing style.

Now f**k off, I’m done. 

Do you know your organisation's brand story? If not, why not come along to a taster workshop I'm running in partnership with Brand 51 in Bristol on Thursday 21 September? It'd be great to see you. See Eventbrite for more info.  


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