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Insight

The art of language

‘It’s not what you say but how you say it’, and there is no better example of this than in the text below. At first glance, the messages are positive, they give you, the casual reader the impression that the organisation is doing something, making a difference. But look more closely. 

 

Company A

 

‘Making a True Difference

Company has a long standing tradition of making a true difference in the communities we serve and those who produce our coffee.

 

Our partnership involves grassroots projects that work closely with small farmers and local coffee organisations. These relationships enable farmers to improve farming practices to produce higher quality coffee more efficiently. By helping local farmers become professional businessmen and women, they gain knowledge to increase their income and improve their lives. 

 

Going one step further, we continue making a true difference in these communities by providing enhancements to their educational system and overall wellness.’

 

Company B 

 

‘With great fashion comes great responsibility

From the cotton fields the the clothes in our stores, the company is working to make fashion more sustainable. To learn more about our conscious actions visit our web site’

 

When one actually reads what is written, it becomes clear that one of the organisations is ‘actually’ doing something that has a real sustainable impact ‘on the ground’, whilst the other is ‘working to make fashion more sustainable’. 

 

Quite a different message. 

 

In the straw poll I did with random customers in both establishments, it became very clear to me that the majority of people believed that both companies are actually making a difference when clearly (at least on the basis of these messages), by carefully reading these messages they are not. The moral of the story is, read what is written, or write what is meant. Working to make something happen, is not the same as actually making it happen.

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