Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Monthly archives for "April 2009"

Surviving the Recession

Ray Drainville

Last week, there was an interesting article in the New Yorker that was definitely a worthwhile read in troubling times. To summarise it, the more you keep up your investment in advertising and research & development, the more likely you will reap massive rewards. Study after study cited in the article mentions how companies that increased their investment during recessions saw precipitous growth, while competitors who scaled back their costs would remain at the bottom of the pile.

A prime example is Kellogg & its main competitor, Post. During the Great Depression, Post scaled back its investment, whilst Kellogg doubled its advertising. Kellogg has dominated the breakfast cereal market to this day. Whilst one might read this example as an outlier—and the length of Kellogg’s dominance supports this—there’s a lot of evidence to support the general claim. Companies who increased investment during the 1981–82 recession grew shockingly fast during the next several years; companies that reduced spending grew sluggishly in the same period. And during the 1990–91 recession, twice as many companies leapt from the bottom of their industries to the top as did during calmer economic times; and those at the bottom of their industries had reduced spending.

Increasing your investment doesn’t come without risks, however: you can gamble & lose—big. It’s not completely irrational to scale back your costs in a thoroughly uncertain atmosphere. But if you do dare to increase your investment, you may well transform your company.

So, uhm, why not give us a call & we’ll see what we can do for your website? :)

Synergise That Quality

Ray Drainville

Frequently we are posted materials (or “literature”, as it’s often pompously called) from printing companies promoting their work. One popped into the slot the other day. The company in question seem to print quite well, but they mask a lot of what they do behind incomprehensible business-speak. Even their slogan, “Creating the unique makes the difference”, makes no sense. Especially since the company’s name isn’t “The Unique”.

Worse, there are a lot of errors in the text. Here are just some samples:

Now, you may think me an asshole for pointing these out. And fair enough. I’m as un-fond of Grammar Nazis as the next guy & it pains me to metamorphose into one. But that first example? It was from the second sentence in the entire pack. This isn’t a case of things slipping by: they didn’t proof-read this at all.

This company clearly spent a lot of money on their printing—and delivery, given that there was no postage on the envelope. They rather brazenly boast of their quality & “mastery of the digital world”. Well, mastery of the digital world includes spell- and grammar-checking. Quality is in the details—and even for companies whose trade is visual design, words matter & your mastery of them differentiates you from the ink-stained half-wit who works round the corner.