Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The trap of corpspeak

"Corporations do not speak in the same voice as [the] new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman. In just a few more years, the current homogenized 'voice' of business - the sound of mission statements and brochures - will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court. Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone."
- The Cluetrain Manifesto (Theses 14-16)

Try this. Go to the biggest and most corporate site you can find and cut and paste their "about" page into a document. Rewrite the section in a language and style appropriate to one or more of the following:

- Cowboys

- A gardener
- The Dalai Lama
- An environmentalist
- A ten year old
- A grandparent

How did the message change when you imagined a different kind of audience? Now take the best elements of each and look at the new "about". Does it sound more human? More interesting?