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1. Hello hello,

2. It’s all been about little tone of voice moments this week. (I know, right? Unexpected foray into work-relevant territory!) 

3. First, a few days ago I shared an example of Eurostar getting their apology tone just right on Twitter. As well as it being an example of a sincere and perfectly-pitched bit of writing (it’s the phrase ‘we hold our hands up…’ that nails it for me), hundreds of other people also liked it, two people asked if they could use it in presentations, and the person who actually wrote it even popped up and said thanks for sharing. All from an unpromising email about some delayed vouchers. 

4. Then, Paynter Jacket Co announced that they’ve created screen-prints from the little ‘Take Care of Yourself’ care label they put inside their jackets. Turns out that on Instagram, customers share more pictures of that label than they do of their jackets. All that brand love, from one little label. 

5. Then @hannahwrote on Twitter shared what is, for my money, the best ‘your order is in the post’ email I have ever seen. It’s from cheese delivery folks L’Affinage. They had me at ‘our heads will be bowed in silence before chanting, mostly in rhythm, sacred verses to ensure your fromage starts its journey enlightened before the box is placed on a plinth of ancient stone…’ 

6. Oh! And I almost forgot about Andrew Nattan waxing lyrical on LinkedIn about how he spanked £40 on a Brew Tea Co teapot just cos they said ‘trolley’ instead of ‘basket’. (Flatteringly, he also thought I wrote their stuff. I don’t. Though I did help them codify their tone of voice.) 

7. What’s rather lovely is that a few years back, any one of these examples would have been like gold dust: brands getting how their voice works even in the little stuff. But now – four blinders in a week. 

8. I thought this blog on the 8 story arcs behind every brand narrative was interesting. I particularly like ‘the one where you stop people boiling the frog’. They’re not really story arcs – they’re more ‘triangulations of relative positions of brand, customer and competitor’ – but I do get that nobody would have clicked on a blog called that. (Except me.) 

9. And I LOVED this piece by Reuben Turner against the tyranny of reductionism and the supposed superiority of ‘simplicity’ in the creative industries. I feel like I want to add something here about the difference between ‘clutter’ and ‘mess’. Except that might be me trying to, ahem, reduce Turner’s argument into a pithy bon mot. 

10. His thing about the ‘one word brief’ reminded me of the likely apocryphal story of Mikhail Gorbachev once being asked at a dinner to sum up the Russian economy in a word: ‘In a word? Good… In two words? Not good.’* 

11. This is usefully perceptive take on the slipperiness of the word ‘respect’, particularly in relation to how it’s used around things like ‘taking a knee’. 

12. I also heard an excellently succinct take-down of the rejoinder to ‘Black Lives Matter’ that ‘all lives matter’: ‘When someone says ‘protect the rainforests, you don’t say ‘well I think we should protect all forests’ – we know all forests are worth protecting. We’re pointing out that rainforests need extra focus and attention right now’. In trying to find the source of this, I came across this piece on Odyssey that collected several other useful analogies. 

13. As we start to ease ourselves out of lockdown, do write your future self a letter and send it to the folks at Post Quarantine, before you start to forget all those things you promised yourself you’d remember. 

14. That’s all! Bye! 

*I’ve tried to find a source for this story, but it turns out to be ungoogleable, as all searches lead to irrelevant stuff about synonyms.

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