Posts Tagged ‘finance’


When It Comes to Brands and Content, Simplicity Matters

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Valerie Simon

iStock_Communication_SmallThis weekend, in a Wall Street Journal article, former chairman of the FEC, Arthur Levitt, suggested: “When an editor wants a reporter to explain something more clearly in a news article, she might say: ‘Tell it to Aunt Edna.’ Aunt Edna is the stand-in for a regular person, someone who has never thought about a cloture motion in the Senate, a municipal bond offering, or some other obscure issue of our public life.” Good advice to all those in the field of communications who are responsible for sharing important information with the public.

The practice of using simple language, however, isn’t always so simple, particularly for those experts in specialty fields, like healthcare or finance, who are tasked with communicating precise and complex information to the general public. Add the pressure and influence of company stakeholders, legal concerns, and a desire to be creative, and it is easy to see why “simple” is not always easy to achieve.

Put yourself in the role of the consumer…

  • Will “Aunt Edna” be confused by your message?
  • Will she grow frustrated trying to understand the industry jargon you are using, or overwhelmed trying to make sense of the information presented to her?
  • Will Aunt Edna grow uneasy or even lose trust in your company?

Now if, Aunt Edna has little patience for jargon and pretentious language, what about “Uncle Walt” (my stand in for the ubiquitous journalist)? Trade publications and academic journals notwithstanding, today’s reporters, producers and editors need to appeal to a broad audience. They are under increasing pressure to produce more, under tighter deadlines.

  • Will Uncle Walt need to read your press release multiple times in order to make sense of it? Will he even read your release for that matter?
  • How difficult is it for him to find the information he needs on your website?
  • Does all of the material and jargon lend itself to mis-quotes and factual misinterpretations?
  • Are the key messages you hope Uncle Walt will take away easy to identify?

Understand that looking out for Aunt Edna is not a charitable exercise. Customers like Aunt Edna are more loyal, and even willing to pay more, for brands that offer communications, interactions and experiences that are easy to understand and use. In fact, U.S. Brands Could Gain $27 Billion in 2011 by Bringing Consumers Simpler Experiences and Interactions, according to the findings of the Siegel+Gale  2010 Global Brand Simplicity Index.

So what global brands offer the simplest communications and what is the real pay off? For more tangible details on the value of simplicity, be sure to join BurrellesLuce and Brian Rafferty, Siegel+Gale Global Director, Customer Insights, for a free on-demand webinar on Using the Power of Simplicity to Optimize Brand Communications and learn about the findings of the 2010 Global Brand Simplicity Index. 

In the meantime, I offer you this challenge: Take a look at your online press room through the eyes of Aunt Edna and Uncle Walt. How much time does it take you to identify the key points? Is there anything subject to interpretation? Does your communication hold up to the “Aunt Edna test”? Does your competitor? Then, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, tell us what you find out.

2010 Bulldog Media Relations Summit: Aedhmar Hynes, Text 100, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Transcripts –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the Bulldog Media Relations Summit, and we’re here with Aedhmar.

Aedhmar, please introduce yourself.

AEDHMAR HYNES:  Hi, I’m Aedhmar Hynes and I’m the CEO of Text 100.

BURKE:  Aedhmar, you were just on the panel talking about the future of public relations, and I loved how you incorporated and said, you know, we really have to step away as PR practitioners from those tactics that give us that feel good that we’ve done a good thing and align our goals with the business objectives.  How do you counsel your team on how to be a bold–be a good consultant and align their PR objectives with the business objectives?  What you’re trying to serve?

HYNES:  Well, I think to a large extent, much of what we’re doing and have always done is really move a story based on the position of a brand or based on the positioning of a corporation.  And for me, I’ve always felt that it’s critically important to understand the context of what you’re doing in relationship to the overall corporation.  So really understanding what influences the success of that brand, which is much broader than simply the success of its product or the success of its people.  And looking at the context of that and making sure that as a communications professional you understand the influence of government, you understand the influence of Wall Street or finance.  Really, all of those things at a global level, even the understanding of cultures across multiple markets is critically important.

And a depth of appreciation and understanding of that as a context setter for what you’re trying to communicate, I think, is critically important.  And in knowing and understanding the context within which you’re working, I think, gives you the opportunity to be much more effective not only in communications, but in being able to counsel your executives in their own effectiveness in communicating their brand.

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.  I think those are amazing insights that we all need to keep abreast of and take our ego out of the equation.  Where can people find you in social media?

HYNES:  Well, I’m pretty easy because I’ve got a very complicated name. And the spelling of my name is A-E-D-H-M-A-R.  And so if you use that as your search, then actually all of the places that I am in the social media pop up straight away.

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.

HYNES:  You’re welcome.