Archive for the ‘Type of work’ Category

In another life

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

In another life, the one between being Napoleon’s idiot brother and this one, I used to be a theatre director. Not a particularly good one, but that’s no matter in the world of make believe; in fact many successful international directors have built their careers on personal and profound incompetence.

This line of work brought me in touch with actors and Shakespeare – for every swing there is a roundabout. When rehearsing Shakespeare there comes a time when actors have to let go of the sides of their metaphorical swimming pool and try to run through the play without using their script. And when they do, a magical thing happens. They start to make Shakespeare more Shakespearian. Ordinary lines of perfectly comprehensible English, like “What have you done?” become translated into Olde English speak – “What hast ye doneth forsooth?”. I exaggerate for comic effect (not for the first time I hear you sigh). But the principle is true – simple ‘you’s become ‘ye’s and ‘eth’s are added at the end of verbs willy-nilly.

I’m half way through Bleak House at the moment. And I’m finding that Dickens is much less Dickensian than I’d expected. He, like Shakespeare, refuses to be his own parody.

Big corporations should take note. Instead of putting on the ‘corporate’ communication hat and trying to write in the style that they think everyone is expecting, they should just write their own thing in their own way. You can talk about ‘getting better at talking to customers’ instead of ‘engaging in ongoing consumer communication strategy uplifts’. You can say you’re ‘sorry for making a mistake’ instead of ‘taking the opportunity to apologise for errors that may have occurred’.

Good writing isn’t about conforming to a stereotype, it’s about making a connection with the reader.

By the way, for all those people who keep telling me that you can’t start a sentence with the word ‘but’, I’ve already counted 7 sentences in Bleak House that do just that. And I’m only half way through. If you’d like to borrow a copy of Bleak House, give us a shout.

Training promo area

Monday, December 5th, 2011

We don’t like to get into protracted theoretical chats about grammar in our workshops. We’d much rather look at a piece of fantastic communication and let it do our talking for us. We used this extract from The Merchant Of Venice to convince a room full of senior civil servants that they should do away with flowery adjectives and pompous abstract nouns, and use strong verbs to drive their messages home instead. The animation highlights the verbs in Shylock’s famous speech. To borrow the current vernacular, it’s verbtastic. training

Our work with
HMRC

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Imagine this. You’re 48 years old, you’re married with three kids and you run a medium sized manufacturing business. A few years ago, it was thriving. But recently you had to lay some people off to keep things afloat. Work is trickling in and cash flow is poor. You can just about afford to pay the wages this week. You should really be at home by now, but you’re still sat at your desk at the factory. In front of you is a brown envelope. This is all you need.
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Our work with
PruProtect

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

PruProtect is a business that never stands still. They’re always looking for new ground to break and new ways to address people’s needs. But even they surprised the market when they launched seven new products on one day in 2010 – something that most insurers would struggle to manage in a decade.
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Our work with
Halifax

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

In a perfect world, everyone who buys an investment product would know how different it is to a savings product and how they should use it. However, features like ‘instant access’ allow, and can even encourage, some confusion between the two. Halifax Building Society had discovered that customers were taking money out of their medium-long term investments before they’d become profitable for either Halifax or the customers themselves.
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Our work with
Lloyds

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Malcolm McClaren once said that ‘stealing is a glorious occupation – particularly in the art world.’ That was the ethos behind Stand Up With Words, an event that we first ran for a 40-strong internal communications team at Lloyds Banking Group.
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Writing promo area

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

The National Association of Pension Funds asked Quietroom to turn their fifty-minute information-packed presentation into a fifteen-minute film that would entertain people and get them thinking about their future. So we decided to create the world’s first comedy about pensions. It tells the story of a pensions expert who’s constantly undermined by the people around him (any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental). It’s since been adopted by organisations as varied as HSBC and Belfast Harbour Authority.

writing

Brand language promo area

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

There are brands. There are super-brands. And then there’s this brand. You can imagine how cringingly gloatful we were when santaclaus global enterprises invited us to hew from our raw imagination their brand guidelines. Frankly, we wept. People liked it so much we ended up talking about it on national radio, and over 1 million people saw it online. You can read whole thing here.

Our work with
Which?

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Ask most people what Which? does and they’ll give you a similar answer: test toasters and washing machines. The brand’s bigger than that, but not enough people know it. Which? has ambitious plans to expand. That means broadening how people see the brand.
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Our work with
PruHealth

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

PruHealth helps people get the right medical treatment if they get ill. But they’re not just a health insurer. They also help people live healthier lives, so that they’re less likely to get ill in the first place. It’s the single most important thing about their brand – and they wanted it to come across more strongly.
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