The bane of poor language – corporate/marketing communication vs the Facebook page

I recently joined a music label’s Facebook page, thanks to them premiering the music of an eagerly expected film. It is a wonderful strategy – no two ways about it. However, as a user of that page, here are some observations.

How serious would the team in the music label be about a printed brochure? Or a CD sleeve? Or their website? I’m sure they are handled by professionals (agency-side or client-side) and a lot of effort goes into it to ensure that it reads well. Why? Because it happens to be something communicated by the brand and bears a certain standard expected out of them.

Imagine – people cannot talk back to that brochure. They cannot offer feedback instantly to a CD sleeve. So, if there was an opportunity for people to offer feedback instantly on the quality of content and the way it is articulated, wouldn’t a brand have to be doubly sure about what it is saying and how it is saying that, regardless of where it is saying that?

I’m not sure what makes people assume that Facebook is meant for poorly articulated language – it sure could be, if one knew who the person handling it is/was. For example, there are brands which have multiple people handling online properties and they are listed prominently, along with a signature in each post, to identify who wrote that update/response. In such cases, followers/fans know that they are dealing with a person, within the brand organization.

Having read this introduction, see these updates from that page.

“Here was one of the most romantic songs you’ve ever heard!!…Now, take a breather and we would be back with…”

“Great to see, such ardent music lovers”

“A fun day it was!!! I’m sure you had fun being a part of…Do let us know…”

Such articulation may well be an intentional decision – as I said earlier, there is an assumption that such language and articulation is perfectly alright, even if it is posted on behalf of a respectable brand, if it is done online, in a place like Facebook. Or Twitter. It is ironical that this reaches more people when you compare it to other forms of communication from the record label.

If you are thinking, ‘What’s the F’in big deal…everybody talks like this on Facebook. Why point this out?’, I can understand.

Please note that everyone – people…individuals…your and my friends are talking like this on Facebook and Twitter. Not brands which are supposed to win the respect of fans/people. If they are, they may well be doing it through a designated person, who becomes the named person, who has been given the power to talk on behalf of the brand. A brand masquerading as a person and talking like this in this corny lingo just seems like a bad idea, to me, personally.

The other issue – muddled use of ‘I’ and ‘Us’. This is a classic PR lesson too – we spend a LOT of time correcting brand communication with regard to how it reads. Some of the basics we adhere to include using ‘my’, in a quote that starts with a ‘I’ tone. When a brand talks, it is ‘Us’ or ‘Our’. Do note that I’ve not yet used the words ‘grammar’ or ‘pronoun’ – intentional…to make my point in as simple a way, as possible.

In the posts above, a nameless, unidentified ‘I’ is saying, ‘I bet…’ and ‘I’m sure…’, in the same para which has ‘we would be back…’ and ‘Do let us know…’. If that would not be approved in other forms of corporate communication, why should it be allowed in the brand’s official Facebook page?

In my opinion, social media engagement is not about talking like people. Or, talking like target audiences. It may well be one of the tactics (if it made sense), but the crux is about winning the trust and respect of people/target audiences. If that demanded talking in a language that they are most comfortable with, so be it.

But answer this question then – why not speak the same language in advertisements, billboards, brochures, pamphlets and websites too?

You could argue – those are one-way communication modes, while social media is a conversation. Excellent point, but that argument doesn’t have a place in this debate. Why? Because, if you consider the purpose of any form of communication from brands and organizations, it is to reach out to target audiences in the best possible manner.

So, if the assumption about advertisements, billboards, brochures, pamphlets and websites are that they communicate to target audiences, why single Facebook and Twitter to bring the quality of language below the standards that are acceptable in those communication modes? Are brands talking to someone different via Facebook and Twitter? The target audience is same, if not more focused (unlike broadcast tools). They can also talk back and take the communication into a conversation – if someone is making fun of a billboard, brands don’t have a consistent way to know that. On Facebook, reaction is almost instant. So, shouldn’t brands be more cautious about how they are communicating here?

(Note: Twitter at least gives some reason for SMS lingo with its 140 character limit…Facebook doesn’t.)

Brand communication tasks usually have professionals behind them. You could question their creativity or thought process, but at a basic level, they ensure a particular standard to not let the brand’s image down. Would you ever see a printed advertisement with a sentence like this – “Great to see, such ardent music lovers”, with a comma right after ‘see’ where it is least required? No, because a decent enough advertising agency chap would have proof-read the copy; for his salary, for his agency’s quality standard and of course, for the sake of the client’s image.

Personally, there’s no excuse for poor quality language – there is a reason why we were taught language and grammar in school/college and there’s a reason why people adhere to such standards – because they are standards. If there’s a cultural evolution like SMS lingo, I can understand how and why it happened and its usage in mainstream communication, with a purpose. Without a purpose, the brand ends up looking silly.

Finally, it is up to the brand to question such practices and up to the agency to answer them satisfactorily. To be honest, I don’t even know if this page by this record label is handled by themselves or by an agency. I also understand the practical issues involved here – team members, sometimes not-so-experienced kids handling such properties. That is indeed an issue as clients and agencies try scaling up engagement, but these can be solved over time by having processes for content creation and approval.

On the other hand, if there is indeed a thought behind creating content of this nature, I’d love to understand the reasons and motives…to learn doing things differently, beyond my narrow view of how things are done.

That said, let me leave you with this sentence from a recent piece I read from Slate, from an article titled, “How To Write a (Good) Sentence

The writing of complete sentences for aural pleasure as well as news is going the way of the playing of musical instrumentsâ??it’s becoming a speciality rather than a means most people have to a little amateur, unselfconscious enjoyment.


Considering the number of people who I may have offended with my earlier observations, here’s a disclaimer.

**
These observations are merely that…observations. Everybody knows that we are operating in a fairly new space when it comes to social media engagement – it is up to the brand and its agency to manage it the way they think best. These so-called observations are just mine…I’m simply wondering aloud, as a consumer/user of these online properties.

I’ve also been accused of having a vested interest while writing about such observations – the only answer I have for that is this – the Indian market/social media space is big enough for many players and I (or my organization) is not interested in handling all of them – we cannot too…we’re not a social media BPO.

So, as some ask, why am I even writing about such ‘negative things’, if I may use the words of a thoroughly annoyed peer. Simple answer: Don’t we point to alleged bloopers in TV advertising? Don’t we refer to seemingly wrong statements in billboards? Why should this be any different? These observations do not need any answer from anyone involved – the agency or the brand. As long as they can answer these (if at all!) within themselves and satisfy their egos…that should be more than enough, I suppose.
**

Update (25.01.2011):

After reading that spirited debate in the comments section, I owe this blog’s readers some clarity. The brand I was referring to, in this post, was Sony Music India. Its Facebook page, to be specific. Given that context, here are some more.

I agree with Krish Ashok’s comments on how service/support is far more important than a decent sentence. But again, that would be akin to expecting organizations to see the support/technical capabilities of a person who has failed in class 10 – it happens, but in far lesser degrees. To extend that analogy, it’d also be like people buying a shabby looking mobile phone just because it has solid capabilities and functionality. This is more likely to happen, but we all do go for the shiny new thing syndrome. These are extremes we’re discussing and I’m sure there are middle paths all across these examples.

There would also be an angle of Indians-supporting-Indians here – customer service for the sake of support should obviously prioritize service/level of support over language and I suppose that rings true at least when Indians are supporting fellow Indians.

The final point is about what Sony Music India was doing in its Facebook page. It wouldn’t fall under support/service. I’d say it was doing the job of a brochure or an advertisement for a new film soundtrack, via social media. It was brand (soundtrack) marketing. While people participating in that effort weren’t complaining, I suppose that effort was similar to they hiring an agency to create marketing materials to promote that soundtrack. Just because a normal employee (taking Krish’s argument) from Sony Music India was involved in that effort, does that mean such marketing effort can be done with sub-standard language?

Pic courtesy The Rocketeer, via Flickr.

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  1. Tweets that mention The bane of poor language â?? corporate/marketing communication vs the Facebook page | Beast of Traal -- Topsy.com

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  2. krishashok
    krishashok at | | Reply

    The problem with the “Do we not point out bloopers in ads and typos in brochures” argument is the assumption that a slickly produced piece of corporate communication and engagement on Social media belong to the same category of corporate activity. The PR/Ad establishment would like to believe so (for fairly obvious reasons – it is natural to want to use a tool and process that one has perfected over the years to solve a new problem) but it really isn’t.

    If I had to use a metaphor, think of traditional product and brand messaging as this volcano that has a tightly controlled, high pressure lid with a small opening controlled by a bunch of gatekeepers. This is so that there’s no eruption and major damage and to ensure that what comes out is pretty well polished gold nuggets. Quite obviously, in such a setup, we’d all be terribly disappointed if one of the nuggets turned out to be anything less than 24 carat gold.

    Now the internet and especially the social web as a medium is more like a mildly active, occasionally spurting volcano that throws up all sorts of stuff, from nickel, to pumice stone to steam to occasional bits of gold. Think of vents all around the mountain, and not just one centrally controlled outflow.

    The point behind this highly contrived geological metaphor is that it tends to describe companies in general quite well. Many organizations are high pressure, chaotic, about to erupt volanoes that deceive people with the controlled outflow. Others (type 2) are a bit more chilled out, and “corporate communication” is not the function of a small group of people, but really, a company wide function that most employees who face the customer engage in. It’s the difference between a company that fires employees for uploading a youtube video of their kickass workplace and one that doesn’t.

    Now, in this context, it’s not about a deliberate use of what you call “informal” or “ungrammatical” language, but the realization that it’s an ordinary employee, somebody who actually plays a very tangible part (unlike say advertisers or corp comm types) in the production of the company’s products and services who is on Facebook or Twitter. I am of course idealizing it a bit, because both you and me know that companies do hire social media experts and consultants to do this bit, and that’s rather unfortunate, but since you asked for reasons and motives, I’m giving you ones that work for companies that truly understand this.

    What is describe above is what Robert Scoble did for Microsoft back in the day. He took what was essentially a company that getting universally panned online everyday and turned them into a better brand simply by putting their smartest employees (of course, their techies and research folks) online, on blogs and forums.

    So the real issue here is not one of the danger of bad language diluting a brand’s name. It’s the danger it poses to traditional message crafters by saying that putting the smart (but ungrammatical) tech support 23 yr old on the Twitter page gives the company as much (if not more) brand value than a slickly produced bit of corporate communication

    This is also not a zero sum game. PR and ad professionals will continue to play a crucial role in brand building. Folks who say that the Twitter account will replace traditional messaging are being equally naive. Ultimately, this is just about traditional corp comm realizing that there is part value to putting ordinary employees out there, engaging with customers in a language they (and not you) are comfortable with. It’s called Grammar Nazism for a reason, you know 🙂

    1. Karthik Srinivasan
      Karthik Srinivasan at | | Reply

      Super argument – I was waiting for your reaction and knew you would respond 🙂

      I agree with most your points because they make a lot of sense and opens a new way of thinking for me.

      A few questions, to continue this debate, however.

      1. Is your argument a bit like filmmakers’ long standing argument for giving bad (subjective – I know) films – “People want this”?

      2. Is it a wrong assumption to correlate poor language/poor communication with overall sub-standard’ness? Aren’t people rejected in interviews because of the former? In an ideal world, they shouldn’t be, right?

      3. Wouldn’t sub-standard’ness in communication impact the overall image of the brand/organization – or, are you saying that there are more people who don’t care about poor communication, and they can’t make out the difference anyway? Is that sign of gradual degradaton or is simply an evolution?

      1. krishashok
        krishashok at | | Reply

        1. No, not at all. A more accurate way is to go one step above and see the whole commercial film vs art film argument from 20K feet. Cultures need both, and there’s no point bashing each one from the other’s perspective (Crassness vs Elitist). Of course commercial filmmakers will say “People want this”, but the more accurate thing to say is – “Some people also want this for some part of their time”. Same analogy applies here.

        2. It is wrong for the simple reason that, unless we live in a Utopian world where everyone has access to the same high quality education, it’s not a flat world out there. And you do say – “in an ideal world” 🙂 Plus there is the problem with the fact that English is a reasonably new language to India (compared to well, its own languages)

        3. I do see your point about the fact that if an company can misspell a word, they can miss out a nut or a bolt as well, but I don’t agree. Engineering is science. Language or communication isn’t, as much as we try to Wren&Martinize it. I think people can make out the difference between corpspeak and ordinaryspeak, and trust me, ordinaryspeak has very little patience for grammar and rules. It does, however, get the message across with equal effectiveness.

        Again, in an ideal world, I’d absolutely love to see the 21 year old on Facebook use grammatically correct language, but that’s not the case, so I’d rather companies ignored the language bit and focussed on customer service 🙂

        1. Karthik Srinivasan
          Karthik Srinivasan at | | Reply

          Touché. I’m not throwing out my Wren & Martin yet, but would sure be looking a *lot* beyond it.

          1. Subha
            Subha at |

            All arguments aside, sub-standard language is a big put-off. If the corporate employs people who did not have access to high quality English education, then have these employees write on a Hindi page. Dont use that as an excuse for bad grammar with the corporate’s blessings.

          2. krishashok
            krishashok at |

            That’s a bit elitist and needlessly black and white in my opinion. Not everyone has access to high quality English education and English itself is a second language for most in India. What you are saying is that the only chaps who must be allowed to “communicate” on behalf of a brand are people who can speak a certain kind of English that a ridiculously small percentage of India can speak, let alone understand.

            The ultimate intent is communication. If some one says “tx yaar Ill get bk 2 u soon”, that conveys the same exact message (in terms of quality of customer service) that “Dear Gentleman, thy query shall be responded to forthwith” or something.

            Also, the view that people who cant write Wren&Martin English should write on the Hindi page is ridiculous. A large bulk of urban India can’t write in the vernacular. The only language they are well and truly comfortable with is this universally panned patois that people use in SMS and online forums. To say that they can go to hell doesn’t sound like good PR or marketing to me

          3. gauri
            gauri at |

            While I do see your point, I disagree with quite a few things in your argument. Wrote out a huge(r) comment and decided against posting it. But to put it in a nutshell, I think wrong grammar vs. professional sounding slick gibberish is apples vs. cauliflowers. It is very possible to reach out to audience from different socio-economic / age groups without having to compromise on grammar. That’s a matter of style register; all it takes is simple (but heck, correct) language and an understanding of what the target group relates to.

            The opposite (or rather grammatically better alternative) of “tx yaar Ill get bk 2 u soon” is not “Dear Gentleman, thy query shall be responded to forthwith.” A simple “Thank you Sir/Ma’m, we will get back to you soon” should do. And if that’s too formal, there’s nothing wrong with “Alright thanks; let me see what I can do.”

            All said and done, one expects some professionalism. Of course “Dear Gentleman…” (or some slick gibberish version of it) is pompous and plain stupid. But “tx yaar…” is the tacky extreme, especially in a professional interaction, – not so much for inexcusable language errors, but for the subliminal chalta-hai-yaar, you’re-not-worth-my-time-and-effort-for-the-best-service attitude it conveys.

            When those responsible for communication to large masses are so lax, wrong grammar becomes an option to everyone. And why not make the effort to get it right for the sake of your brand and your product, if you’re going to communicate to so many people?

            Understandably not everyone has access to high quality English education – but we’re speaking of an established brand here, one where a person speaking correct (not necessarily “high”) English is more the rule than an exception – and one that can afford ONE external proofreader if not a communications person/team.

            It’s like the front desk guy wearing a crumpled shirt with a missing button to work. Yes, we understand there are reasons, but do work on fixing them!

          4. krishashok
            krishashok at |

            I do agree to the part of your argument that asks companies to work on fixing unprofessional communication. Of course, I prefer seeing a neutral “We are working on it sir/madam” instead of “i tek a luk @ it” as well, but my point is something else – I’d rather ensure that, as a company, I spend on having the right guy in terms of technical ability dealing with my customers instead of spending money on someone who can frame a Wren&Martin approved sentence.

            Let me take customer support for a mobile service provider on Twitter. If you are expecting both good, solid service ( in terms of solving problems quickly) AND grammatically correct English in contemporary urban India, that’s unrealistic and shows a lack of understanding of the demographic of people who work in customer support in India today (predominantly small town/semi-rural migrants who managed to get a college degree).

            There is also a flaw in the “established brands can afford to do this on social media when they can do this for traditional communications” logic. They cant afford it if they are doing social media right. If you are going to hire a proofreader for your tweets, then you aren’t doing Twitter right. Social media is a way of augmenting your traditional customer touchpoints by putting average employees out there to deal with customers – these could be tech support folks on Twitter or new product folks on Facebook. If you are opening up that way, then the priority is to put the right people, not the right “good english” people.

            Of course, if you are doing social media as a PR stunt and simply letting the same agency “deal” with it, then you might as well use proper English 🙂 That I agree.

          5. gauri
            gauri at |

            //I spend on having the right guy in terms of technical ability dealing with my customers instead of spending money on someone who can frame a Wren&Martin approved sentence.//

            That of course is a logical extreme and an obvious choice if we are to assume the two are really mutually exclusive. Also, customer service is usually in response to customer issues, rather than text written pro-actively to market or reach out to people, so we’re talking about a different purpose/priority here.

            Yes, I must admit I didn’t think the combination of good service and knowledge of basic, non-fancy English a near-impossibility. I still don’t. But isn’t understanding the issue or conveying to the customer what needs to be done almost as important as fixing the issue? Hypothetically, would you hire someone who is 9/10 in tech but 2.5/10 in communication, or 8/10 in tech and 7/10 in communication for customer support personnel?

            //There is also a flaw in the “established brands can afford to do this on social media when they can do this for traditional communications” logic.//

            The logic of course changes with the addition of social media vs. traditional comm. factor which I had not mentioned at all. Companies affording a proofreader was in reference to pro-active communication. But social media is where the engineer with decent communication (which is likely more the rule than an exception) comes in.

            I’ll take your word on the customer support demographic.

            I think we all agree on the common sense points of service over glib talk and use of good language for pro-active communication. The details of opinions are more a coffee-table conversation than comment threads. Add one more to the list 🙂

            Karthik, thanks for being generous with your comment space. To quote the unnamed brand, “Fun it was!” Both, the article and the debate 🙂

        2. cornerd
          cornerd at | | Reply

          “Engineering is science. Language or communication isn’t”. Perfect. But I don’t think that’s how it’s generally perceived. It’s easy to project that a company which can’t get the spelling right may miss out on a nut or a bolt. It may not be right but a lot of people do it. In fact I would argue the opposite, in an idea world I wouldn’t mind a 21 year old typing grammatically incorrect language and weird spellings. But since this is not an ideal world, sometimes the form of communication impacts the consumer/reader more than the message conveyed. While most ppl can differentiate between corporn vs ordinaryspeak fairly well, not sure if they are just as ok with bad spelling and grammatically incorrect sentences.I have read a few blogposts where the language is bad and the ideas are good and the vice-versa. Now if I ask you to take a guess on which one has more traffic, what would you guess – Ceteris Paribus and all that.

          1. Karthik Srinivasan
            Karthik Srinivasan at |

            I like this argument – language/communication is about perception. And brands strive hard to create a perception that they are good – it is no doubt a subjective thing (non-science), but that’s how it works. So, a bad product could create a perception that it is good, using great communication. Of course, we know that it won’t last long.

            Engineering, on the other hand, by being science, is either good or bad – there’s no perception issue here.

            So, the point is…brands can take advantage of what perception can create and improve their image using conventional standards of language, applied creatively. The contrary could hurt the image, was my original post’s point, I suppose!

          2. krishashok
            krishashok at |

            Yes you are right. But tell me this. What perception is stronger? Bad customer service or unprofessional grammar? I’ll take good service with chatspeak any day over proofread communication saying “Your time is valuable to us. You will hear from us in 300 business day(s)”. My point is that we are spending more time worrying about bad grammar on corporate FB pages and Twitter accounts instead of focussing on what they are there for. Social media isn’t yet another communication channel in the way TV or brochures are. I dont think it’s the medium for carefully crafted messages and I think the effort involved in somehow proofreading or hiring great customer service folks who also write very good English is an unrealistic expectation

          3. cornerd
            cornerd at |

            Your point is well made. Of course we would all prefer efficient service over a professional but inadequate service. But that’s digitalising the argument. To assume that you gain technical proficiency in service by compromising on professionalism/language (or whatever that is called) is a stretch. Also not every interaction on Twitter/Facebook is about customer service. A lot of them is one way communication about the brand/product too. The fact that poorly written communication can be a deterrent has some merit. To completely discount that is too utopian. Yes, I think in an utopian world it shouldn’t matter, but….

          4. krishashok
            krishashok at |

            I’m not saying good communication and technical ability are mutually exclusive. Do see my response to Gau3’s comment below. The demographic of people who now work in the support industry is very distinctly small town/semi-ruralish. This is a reality we have to live with. The good English speakers have either moved abroad or work in managerial positions. The problem is that the illusion of the mutual exclusivity of proper communication vs getting-the-job-done is rather real for now as a result of this.

            You are also right about FB and Twitter not just being for support and if a company is hiring people whose spellings some of us cant seem to tolerate, it says one of two things

            1. Companies cant afford to hire a person who can frame a grammatically correct sentence OR hire a proofreader to check what the FB/Twitter chap is doing

            2. Companies dont care. I wont be surprised if many companies still see FB and Twitter as waters to be tested and not worth spending a gazillion bucks being slick and professional. This is like how the internet page looks a zillion times better than the intranet page 🙂

            So, if 1) is true, then the demographic argument applies. If 2) is true, then there’s no ROI to spending that extra amount to avoid the “lyk” and “NEwez” spellings

          5. cornerd
            cornerd at |

            I completely buy into the demographic change in ppl working in the support industry since I worked in that kinda set up not too long ago. What if a company can’t hire a competent person argument is valid too, but not sure how much of the population we are talking about falls into that category.

            As for the companies don’t care argument, that’s precisely what a blogpost like this tries to point out. “Don’t underestimate the reach of Social Media in reaching out to potential consumers and give it as much importance as any other formal communication form”.

            Now we can argue if social media has any reach at all and therefore the ROI point, but I can extend the same argument to other avenues of advertising or any product communication for that matter. Impact assessment of adv on biz performance is always a dicey area. But it wouldn’t be wrong to say that you may not almost gain anything by having a presence in social media without the due care and that you may possibly gain by taking your communication through social media as seriously as you would of other forms of communication.

            The tone, style etc., of communication like say “u ppl rockkkkkkkk!!!!!” may still be debatable. But that’s debatable in other forms as well, like Kotak did with their “v r 25” campaign. In short, to say that companies may be wrong in not taking communication through these channels seriously is a fair argument IMO.

          6. krishashok
            krishashok at |

            If IT (well, my area) is any indicator, the demographic shift is very real. Schools and colleges aren’t exactly getting any better either. You are of course right about option 2. It was made only with the intent of understanding all possible motives.

            The thing is, if putting one english savvy social media consultant to “take care” of your FB page is considered OK as strategy, then by all means put someone who can spell decently. But if as a company, you are serious in terms of actually creating many more touchpoints with customers than just the carefully curated ones that Corp comm/Marketing/Branding chaps do, then grammar and spellings, I am afraid, shouldn’t be your priority. If you can do the rest properly, then by all means, focus on grammar and spellings. In a Utopian world, every one of your employees on FB will type flawless English

          7. cornerd
            cornerd at |

            yaya, I completely agree with the demographic change argument. I have experienced the same in my time in HP.

            Again you are taking the argument way too far on the other side. “Having an online presence for the sake of it” vs “genuine effort to increase the touchpoints” is a different argument altogether. And no one in his right mind is going to argue agt your point at all. Maybe, just maybe, decent communication is the first step in building an effective resourceful touchpoint. Like flipkart for instance. I don’t know who’s behind their Twitter ID, but everytime I reach them, I feel an imp stakeholder is operating the account. Part of that is because of the quality of the service offered, but the style of communication plays its part too, at least doesn’t dilute the impact of service.

            On a slightly unrelated note – Though your demographic change argument is true, the number of people who can speak decent (reasonably grammatically correct) English from semi-rural, semi-urban places has gone up a fair bit. There are so many companies who employ such people paying them pittance (as low as 3-4k, the guy who services my bicycle speaks fluent English – of course this is Bombay and all that). This factor offsets your argument to an extent. If companies are serious enough, they cant get competent resources at affordable cost – the question here is more of intent and knowledge – Does the company understand the scope of these channels as a serious touchpoint at all?

            On an even more unrelated note – In a utopian world, grammar or spelling shouldn’t matter to readers/consumers as long as what needs to be conveyed is conveyed.

  3. Vijay Menon
    Vijay Menon at | | Reply

    Brands that communicate in pidgin are using a classic tactic in all communication — talk like your audience. That is why MTV talks in Hinglish and messages targeted at youth pepper their sentences with ‘dude’, ‘like’ and ‘wassup’. At another level, check out the Niira Radia tapes and note how she reflects the tone and class of her interlocuter in all cases. We all do it in some measure to gel with our audience.

    Does it work? Hell, yes. That’s why everone does it. Should you do it all the time? Hell, no. You don’t want an ad for a Mercedes Benz to talk in pidgin. Just as you don’t want MTV to talk in Merriam-Webster English.

  4. Karthik Srinivasan
    Karthik Srinivasan at | | Reply

    Thanks for that enlightening discussion – have added an update to sum up my views, that have evolved over the course of reading all the comments!

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  6. Rhellicar
    Rhellicar at | | Reply

    Hi Beast of Traal

    That is quite a rant you’ve got going there.

    I’m sure you know that as soon as you complain about poor use of language / punctuation / syntax etc, you will immediately be attacked by other people pointing out your own error or errors.

    I think your topic was very interesting – but your commentary was long and a bit “waffly”

    So I didn’t actually read all your message. But I did notice you wrote “alright” instead of “all right”. Of course I knew exactly what you meant and the only reason I’m commenting on the error is because you commented on other people’s.

    And I’m sure I’ve also made a few errors while writing this – so feel free to criticise me in turn 🙂

    1. Karthik Srinivasan
      Karthik Srinivasan at | | Reply

      Thanks! I can learn too, you know 🙂

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

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