COM0014 Blog #2: The same message, three different ways

By Cindy Macdonald

Image by, OpenClipart-Vectors

The emphasis in my social media class this week was on storytelling and communication styles, so I would like to provide a short demonstration of how you, as  writer, can communicate the same information in multiple ways, depending on the nature of your audience.

Why the image of a cucumber you ask? Well, it’s going to become the star of our story.

I pulled this quote from a corporate blog for Resolute Forest Products. It is written in typical promotional corporate tone.

“Today, the company has grown into a global leader in the forest products industry with over 40 pulp, paper, tissue, wood products and energy facilities across North America…. From the filter used to make their morning coffee to the lumber they buy to renovate their home – even the cucumbers in their lunchtime salad – all may contain a fair amount of Resolute.”

– Resolute Forest Products

Presented in a more casual, instructional tone, it could read:

Many mills in Quebec and Ontario belong to one of the world’s top forest products companies: Resolute Forest Products. The company has more than 40 plants in North America, producing items you would use every day: the filter used for your coffee, the lumber for your home renovations, even the cucumbers in your lunchtime salad.

Here it is in a light, first-person style:

I just found out that a Canadian company which makes paper and lumber also grows cucumbers! I think it’s so fabulous that Resolute Forest Products uses the waste heat from some of its mills to provide energy for a greenhouse to grow cucumbers. It just goes to show that even big companies – Resolute has 40 mills in North America – can still be innovative, and cool as a cucumber! 😊

Now you try re-writing the original corporate bland copy using a different tone, and share it in the comments section.

About me: After more than 25 years as an editor of trade publications, I’m now learning social media techniques. I’ll be writing about news, communication, social media and travel as I go through this career transition. Please join me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or my blog, and we’ll chat.

COM0014 – Blog 5 – My Personal Brand

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, was bang on when he said, “Build brands not around products, but around reputation.” How I create that reputation is deeply rooted in the path my father has paved ahead of me. As a small business owner my father has developed a network of faithful clients through exceptional client services. He has formed a solid reputation in our industry setting us apart from our competitors. I have very big footsteps to fill it but I have a great mentor to show me the way.

As I am the first point of contact with clients, my personal brand directly reflects the company’s corporate brand. By remembering client names, faces, and company I gain a level of respect that is important to maintaining relationships. I go above and beyond what is asked of me to make sure the client is happy. Ways that I do this include being prompt to respond to emails, phone calls etc, ensuring to make contact with the client throughout the rental period, and following up after the rental is complete.

My colleagues would say my best trait is my ability to multitask and the attention I pay to details. Working in a small business both these qualities are extremely valued. I tend to juggle three or four tasks at the same time and am able to prioritize accordingly. Sometimes when people multitask things can be overlooked, I make sure this never happens by paying attention to even the smallest details.

In order to make myself stand out I have turned to social media. I have kept my LinkedIn account up to date and followed clients that I frequently work with. I believe that seeing my personal profile and learning more about me on a personal level shows them that I am more than a voice on the phone or words in an email.