Cross-cultural myths

January 26, 2007 — Via a piece on Seth Godin’s blog about cross-cultural communications, here’s something I didn’t know about one the most enduring cross-cultural myths. Snopes.com explains that the old chestnut about the Chevy Nova selling poorly in Mexico because “Nova” means “won’t go” in Spanish is false. And while we’re on the topic […]

Marketing conundrum

December 20, 2006 — Over $100 million in new product has been damaged in transit between your factory and dealer network. The shipment is insured, but what do you do with the salvaged goods, some of which appear undamaged? If you’re Mazda and the product is 4,700 new vehicles that were stranded for months on […]

A golden rule, broken

September 21, 2006 — A golden rule when working with the media is “never say anything near a journalist that you wouldn’t want attributed to you on the front page of tomorrow’s paper.” To apply this concept, you need an idea of what might offend the important people in your life—shareholders, customers, voters, family, etc.—and […]

The Pope’s Apology

September 18, 2006 — From a communications standpoint, the Vatican has seriously miscalculated with the Pope’s apology. Here’s why: 1. Saturday’s apology was clearly written by a committee. When that happens, compromises are made to satisfy the committee and the lawyers who inevitably populate it. Those compromises weaken the apology with weasel words to the […]

There’s a word for it

September 12, 2006 — If you’ve ever opened a web page and seen gibberish where you were expecting text, here’s the word for it: mojibake. Wikipedia describes mojibake, which is a loan word from Japanese, as “the phenomenon of incorrect, unreadable characters shown when computer software fails to render a text correctly according to its […]

A Writer’s Reference Shelf

August 30, 2006 — With the wealth of information (and misinformation) available on-line, a reliable library is essential. Here’s an “reference shelf” of dictionaries, style guides and other books—for both British and American English—that will add polish and precision to your writing. Dictionaries The Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0198610572. British […]