Thursday, 22 March 2012


I’ve been studying French for the last ten weeks with a lady called Monique from a company called Cactus. Last night’s lesson was the final one, sadly.

This morning, Cactus sent me this email:

Dear Rob

Congratulations on completing your French Beginner 2 course with Monique Baudet-Smyth! Give Your Feedback.

We hope you have achieved your learning goals, met some nice people and had fun along the way. This is your chance to rave or rant about our service, praise us or make us grovel. Please tell us what you think - the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Cross your heart.

We'd like to know that you have enjoyed learning with us. But if you haven't we want to know how to put it right. That's really important to us. It helps us sleep well at night.

Please Give Your Feedback now.

Many thanks!

Your Cactus Team

Recently, I’ve been put off by companies that write like this. Not because I don’t like the odd bit of cheeky language, a nice turn of phrase here and there. It’s because a lot of companies that want this voice don’t have the personality to go with it. In branding speak, their voice, values and approach don’t line up.

But Monique from Cactus was a joy. I looked forward to speaking to her every week, learning from her, hearing her stories, smiling as she sang. She was fun, engaging and a little bit cheeky. And so, I think, is this email from her company.

If you’re an MD and one day you decide you’d be much happier if you pumped some new personality into your company, remember to pump that personality into your brand too: through words, design, values, everything.

But if you don’t want to change the way you do things, you just want to sell more stuff by trying to be a bit chattier, watch out. People will see through it. And they might feel duped.

Me? I’ll definitely be giving feedback to Cactus. Monique ├ętait superbe!

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