It's not about you

My inbox, probably like yours, is groaning under the weight of emails from business and CEOs about coronavirus. Some of them have important stuff to say – like supermarkets, airlines and banks. 

Is virtual training even better than the real thing?

I confess: I always thought that virtual training was second best. And often second rate (ouch). It’s okay. But not your first pick – right? Wrong. Being forced to do it by what Harold Macmillan famously called ‘events’ (and what we call real life) I’ve completely changed my mind. Why?

Bad writing is bad for business

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: buzzword bashing season! This year it’s Vulture and the Atlantic; a few years ago it was this wonderful piece from the Guardian. But I wonder if we can get beyond ‘aren’t buzzwords annoying?’

The Boris Johnson tone of voice guidelines

‘Politicians all sound the same’, or at least that’s what people told us when we did some research at election time into the way they communicate. Well, that’s not true of Boris Johnson. He doesn’t sound like anyone else, and that’s because he sticks to a tone of voice formula with a calculated[...]

What makes training stick? We’ve got a few ideas.

We do a lot of training workshops. And we know sometimes – like great writing – great training can seem like magic. But it’s not good enough to have a hunch (especially when people are paying for your hunches). We want to know why things work. And we’ve found behavioural science has a lot of the[...]

Be polite, please (and why rules are there to be questioned)

We do lots of work with people who write to customers. Especially angry customers who’ve had a lousy ‘customer experience’ and have put pen to paper, or typing finger to Twitter, to rant and rave. (We’ve all been one.)

What to watch for when you have emoji in your tone of voice

We often get asked if emoji belong in a tone of voice. And of course they can. Monzo is one of the best examples of getting them to fit right in. Once you’ve defined your tone it should be fairly obvious whether you’re the 🎉 type or not. But how you use them, well, that’s a bit more nuanced.

You don't know how much you don't know

How well do you understand a toilet flush? Your kettle? The fridge? You pull a lever and water runs. You flick a switch and water boils. You open a door and it’s cold. We get these things; we use them every day. Right?

Why learning about storytelling isn’t learning to tell a story

Everybody’s a storyteller now, aren’t they? Brands. Corporate leaders. Content channels. Multi-platform experiences. They’ve all got a story to tell. Or at least one to sell. So it’s not surprising that we get asked to run storytelling workshops all the time. 

Don't let your brand story become a bland story

Let’s play a game of ‘guess who?’. Here are three brand stories from three startup type companies. I’ve anonymised the giveaway bits, so you tell me: who’s talking?