Lost in Translation, McKinsey ...


The grab bag returns for the first time in 2017.

Why the hiatus?

Playing homage to the Google algorithm, I’ve been consciously avoiding shorter blog posts or what some term “stubs.”

Yet, I continue to come across shards of content that either amuse, surprise or teach. As individual content, they don’t necessarily frame a post.

Hence, the grab-bag post.


Lost in Translation

After 100+ trips overseas, I still find the use of English as a second language offers up moments that cause double takes.

Such was the case in reviewing the Hong Kong Post Office website and reading about a service to create customized stamps

I’m all for eliminating hyperbole in sales copy, but this takes things a smidgen too far:

Hong Kong Post Office messaging

I can understand avoiding phrases like “great gift” or “fantastic gift.”

But “decent gift” isn’t exactly the description that’s going to win over the person who signs off on the purchase order.


McKinsey on How to Get the Most Out of Your Agency Relationships in 2017

When I saw the headline, my heart started racing.

What would McKinsey, the lords of consulting, have to say about working with external agencies:

“Marketer-agency relationships are more important than ever. While the shift to digital channels and technologies has created the opportunity to personalize communications with the ‘always-on consumer,’ it has also made it harder to stand out. This has led to a complex and ever-expanding ecosystem of creative, media, analytics, social, and other agencies that can access specialized expertise. Managing a broader set of agency relationships, however, comes with its own significant challenges.”

So far so good.

Unfortunately, McKinsey doesn’t deem communication agencies as important enough to even address under the “other agencies” category.

This is how McKinsey perceives the universe of external agencies that roll up into marketing:

McKinsey graphic

Nothing about PR or communications (media agency refers to the buying of media).

And the digital agency rules from the center of the universe.

I don’t think so (uttered with conviction that content — not technology — leads the charge).


PR is a Tough Business

Study after study rates public relations as one of the most stressful professions in the world.

We are in a zero sum game. The target audience has a finite amount of attention. We’re expected to crack the code and find a way to land some of that precious attention.

Throw in that variable called clients, some of whom don’t fall in the “reasonable” column — answering to bosses, some of whom again don’t fall in the “reasonable” column — and you’ve got all the makings of a pressure cooker.

I call the illustration below (compliments of Smashing Magazine and Today I Love This Tumblr), “PR Guy After Work.”

Cartoon of professional man on a bus

He hasn’t succumbed to the pressure.

He’s simply decompressing.

Sidenote: I’ll be joining Shel Holtz to talk about the future of communications at an IABC event in San Francisco on March 1. If you’re interested in attending, tickets are here. I promise not to slump in my chair (no decompressing until after the talk).


  • George

    I’m liking the ‘grab bag’ format Lou. Some nice quick bits I certainly wouldn’t want to miss, thankfully the translation double-take wasn’t a coarse one!

  • George

    Yes it’s a nice way to break things up a bit. Especially when coming across lots of great little pieces as you do when blogging but not really being able to tie them all together.


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