language insights

Our take on the most, and least, effective communication.

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July 24, 2014

From the violence in Gaza to the plane crash in the Ukraine we have seen some sad, sad times this past week.  But what is worse, as Americans we can’t come together even in these times of tragedy.  We are a country divided—and this week has certainly proven it to us.  American’s can’t agree on what our course of action should be – and they sure can’t agree on what they want to see from our leaders.  And, my guess is all of you can relate.  Because if you have family or close friends who lean a different direction politically, you can be sure that is almost impossible to have a civilized con

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By Zach Hecht

 

Could using negative language help a competitor’s bottom line?

 

In our research we repeatedly see that consumers cringe when companies use language that is disparaging to competitors. We also know that voters are increasingly frustrated by the negative language being employed in today’s political arena.

 

However, despite the evidence, many businesses and politicians continue to use negative language and messaging.

 

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When the President stood in the Rose Garden today to make a statement about Ukraine, one could presume that he had something to say.  That as Leader of the Free World, he would only take the time to speak to the public with a determined message that the world needed to hear.

 

In preparing for his statement, he and his speechwriters made conscious choices.  Did they want to sound strong or weak?  Definitive or vague?  Active or passive? 

 

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July 18, 2014

 

Just about every boss has had to do it.  Announcing layoffs is never easy, and it doesn’t get easier.  Yesterday, Microsoft announced the largest layoffs in its history – up to 18,000 jobs. In advance of the layoffs the company released an all-staff letter penned by CEO Satya Nadella explaining the moves and putting them in context.

 

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July 18, 2014

 

How many emails did you send yesterday? I counted mine. A respectable 50. And from what Google tells me, that’s about average for an industrious worker like myself.

 

The problem is that apart from the little reminder notes you send yourself, they’re all going to other human beings. And human beings are judgmental.

 

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July 16, 2014

The folks at GM just can’t seem to get this right.

 

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July 15, 2014

Lee Carter appears on Fox and Friends, responding to Clinton’s now infamous comment that her family was once “dead broke.” Her comments dismantled the connections American women draw to her as a wife and mother with real challenges.  And since connections lead to trust, and trust leads to votes, she won’t win the 2016 presidential race if these ties are broken. Pantene’s “Labels Against Women” ad shows how issue-focused, disruptive, and relatable messages are better able to foster these connections.

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July 15, 2014

The bad news for the beltway:  They are calling 2016 the election that will be won by women.  Not sure who the “they” is, but it’s not surprising that women’s issues are getting more coverage now than we have seen in a long time.  The women we speak to every day are skeptical.  They don’t believe the answers are going to happen inside the beltway.  So is the time right for Hillary to step in and become the face of women’s issues?  Or will it come from a more unexpected place—more specifically from a big company. 

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July 11, 2014

 

If “The Decision” was LeBron James’ version of “This is How You Lose Her,” then this is how he (begins) to get her back.

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Originally posted on June 21, 2013.

 

As much as Steve Jobs always said he never needed to listen to customers to understand what they wanted, Apple’s communication was always perfectly attuned to the customer.  From “1984” to “Think Different” to the latest iPhone and iPad ads, the focus was always on the user. Ads would inspire them, delight them, engage them. The message was always about the kind of people who purchased Apple products and the things you could do with them.

 

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