Dear reader, I’m reaching out…


By Tracey Spicer
July 18, 2013

–>Dear Reader,

I would like to reach out to you to start a conversation about engaging with our brand strategy.

We need to reconceptualise the affordances of technologies towards new learnings.

Let’s unpack the issues, face the global challenges, and create a growth space.

Yep, I’ve been doing a bit of corporate work lately. And it’s doing my head in. What the words in italics mean is this: We want you to read The Hoopla.

But why use 7 words when you can use 42? (I am paid by the word, after all.)

Bosses who wonder about poor levels of productivity need to look at the language of the office: the weasel words infecting our vernacular.


It’s as clever as Coles’ “Freshly Baked Bread” that’s made in Ireland.

Or Organic Water which, according to the ACCC, is not actually organic.

Or the blind belief that saying “moving forward” means you really are.

“It’s the language of a cad,” Don Watson, the author of Unbendable Learnings, told ABC Radio. “It’s the language of someone who’s actually trying to escape the reality and is unwilling to be honest about it.”

So, I’ve decided to decipher common corporate clunkers.

Aligning strategy with delivering outcomes This was used recently by the bureaucratic behemoth, Queensland Health. What it really means is, “We’re looking for better ways to keep patients alive. Sorry about your Uncle Ian. We didn’t mean to kill him”.

Best-of-breed cloud burst One of the bosses of BP was describing the marketing response to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What she really said was, “We’ve gotten rid of our crappy old IT system for a shiny new cloud-based one. We used this to try to trick the media into believing one of the world’s biggest environmental catastrophes wasn’t our fault.”

Beverage incident Schweppes congratulated a pizza shop for an increase in these. So, are customers are drinking more? Or is it spillage? Oops, I just had an unfortunate – ahem – beverage incident.

Cutting edge technology Ah, an old favourite. I particularly like its use by a radiology firm on its website boasting “cutting edge technology applied to patient care”. And here I was, thinking all that whiz-bang machinery would be left in storage, instead of being used on patients.

Boring Presentation

Full plate review I’m pleased to hear the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry is conducting this, because there are an awful lot of chipped and broken ones in the office cupboard.

Harmonising prices Yep, that means they’re going up.

High performance hair solutions Dynasty, eat your heart out. In the real world, it’s known as a blow-dry.

Engagement tool Heineken put out a press release, saying it would use its “heritage as the key engagement tool”. The real tool is the fool who wrote the press release.

Executing in an expeditious manner Doing it quickly. Duh.

Impacted employee GlaxoSmithKline was referring to 120 people who’d lost their jobs. Quite an impact, I would say.

Mapping a new approach to design Er, you’ve just said the same thing twice. I believe that’s called tautology.

Narrativity in organisations I always through a narrative was a structure for the spoken or written word. But no. “Through narrative practice we can enrich and explore the interpretive horizon of our situation,” according to Klaus Majgaard, speaking at the Narrative Conference in Denmark.

Negative investment experience Thanks, Challenger. It’s called a “loss”.

Reach out and push for integration This was advice given by a manager to an employee at Betfair, in the UK. Now, try as I might, I can’t reach out and then push. I’m already fully extended. Anyone? ANYONE?

Zero-kilojoule hydration option Otherwise known as “water”. Memo Geoff Parker, CEO of The Australasian Bottled Water Institute: Keep it simple, stupid.

Actioning, strategising, leveraging, and impacting are, at worst, clumsy.

But some words are simply made up, like “deranged”. “We have deranged this product,” meaning removing it from the shelves.

It’s deranged, alright.

The kids were confused when we met with a landscaper about plans for our new house. She kept talking about the “design language”.

“Is that like French, Mummy?” Grace enquired. “More like Swahili darling,” I replied. Perhaps it is a language we need to learn.

will ferrell“It is usually the case that those who secure the top spots are those who speak the lingo, who can strike a rapport with those in power,” Ian Verrender writes in the SMH.

“As long as you know the code, the keywords, you will be immediately embraced by the gang and absorbed into the rarefied world of commerce – a world in which the dilettante reigns supreme.”

So, here’s a handy Corporate Slogan Generator you can try.

This might be the tool our Dear Leader used before uttering the phrases, “detailed programmatic specificity” and “operationalising”.

Righty-o. I’m off to create a road map to leverage my assets going forward.

In other words, I’m hopping in the car to pick up the kids from school.



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