Day 16 – Writing Styles, They are a Changing
“O4U. Gr8 offer 2day. B1,G1F all manicures. CMB 01 1234567”
I blinked several times trying to understand it. I understood ‘all manicures‘ and that was all. I had to show it to a friend’s teenage son to make sense of it. He looked at it, translated it straight-away and looked at me as if I was 102 years old.
“Only for you. Great offer today. Buy one, get one free on all manicures. Call me back on 01 1234567.“
I think I’m “down with the young people”. Well obviously I’m not! Taking 20 minutes to realise I need help translating a message makes me feel old. And guess what? My beautician is older than me.
But I got to thinking about how much communication has changed over the last 10 years, let alone 50 or 100 years.
Change in Business Communication
The biggest change that has been made, over the past decades, in business communication is writing style. The basic rules still apply such as good grammar, correct use of punctuation, structured sentences and flowing sentences. The style has changed enormously. It’s less formal (even in professional communications), it’s direct and isn’t afraid to show a bit of emotion.
We’ve all changed our reading style – once we read cover to cover; now we glance using sub-headings, bullets and small paragraphs.
Long gone are pages of text when the shortest sentence was 20 words. Nowadays, we want information in short, succinct bites which are clear and cogent.
What you need to do as a writer is convey your message correctly to your audience. Your writing style needs to appeal to your audience.
Let’s take a look at how Coca Cola adverts have changed over the years. The product has stayed the same but the ads and the writing style has changed.
This advert has changed significantly from 1905. It is moving toward a more emotional advert but would the words ‘lively’ and ‘crisp’ work today? I think not. Unless the texters could find a way to shorten them!
Pure emotion here. The Coca Cola family is writing to the NASCAR winning Greg Biffle to congratulate him and tell him just how proud they are him. Would this ad have worked in 1905? Probably not.
Each of these adverts have adapted to the economy and audience of it’s generation.
What you need to do is acknowledge your writing style and adapt it to your audience. I’m not advocating that you send text messages like the one I received. The basics of copy-writing are still there – you’re looking for the sale or the piqued interest in your product. Adapt your writing style and ensure it’s appropriate to your audience.
Day 16 – Homework
- What style are you using when you write?
- Is it appropriate to your audience?
- Do you have more than one writing styles depending on your audience segmentation?