Businesses should be careful what they say

Why the title? Well, some PR material you see on-line and off-line is quite discouraging to the prospective client or customer.

Quite often I need to look at the websites of firms of accountants, who, though they may provide the some of the same sort of services as my own business, you will know that I regard as colleagues. We are all earning our keep and often co-operation is an advantage.

I do shudder though when I see certain phrases. “We are the largest in Essex dealing with this subject”. Well, the firm in question has two offices. I would rather suggest the personal attention the client would have to ease their pain than plant in the mind of a prospect that they would be just one of many clients of a certain sort.

On another accountants’ website is “we have moved into prestigious new offices in the High Street”. That just implies they are likely to be expensive. I don’t suppose they are and I congratulate them on their success, but I would recommend them to emphasise the value and savings they can deliver to their clients and not crow about the posh offices.

There is another firm of accountants whose website home page has a photo of the partners standing knee-deep or more, depending on height, in a field of a mauve-flowered crop.

One’s first reaction is “what are they doing?” I suppose they want to appeal to the farming community, being provincially based, but the photo damages the overall impression of what would be quite a nice website. I confess I had a giggle, which is a shame because I think they are a good firm.

We all get things wrong. You could say about me “people in glasshouses…”. Go on, why don’t you? However, we do need to make sure that our offering is clear and valuable, and we do not have more than a few seconds of attention-span to get the message across.

Have you seen any mixed messages from businesses recently?

© Jon Stow 2010

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Comments

  1. There are some phrases I see on press releases and other promotional “stuff” that makes me cringe. “most innovative”, “fastest growing”, “the leading….” all of these being non-verifiable and probably just words for the sake of them.

    As a cynic if I see a company flagged as ‘Global Marketing Services’, I imagine a man in a shed, so a “leading supplier” is one without the imagination to come up with something better.

    Still, none of us can afford to be too rude as we have all written something we later regret!

  2. Thanks, Jeremy. No, none of us is perfect of course, but if we avoid being pretentious and try to be honest in our copy we will have more respect from our readers.

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