Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How To Break Bad News: What The Post Office Knows That You Don't

You can learn a lot about how to break bad news to clients (or anyone) from the U.S. Postal Service.

Their news release announcing higher postage rates is a masterpiece of positioning ...

  1. Look at the headline -- prices aren't going up, they're "adjusting."
  2. A "penny increase" sounds minimal, doesn't it?
  3. The increase is softened by bracketing it with the fact that it's the "first since May 2009."
  4. The first paragraph provides more softening context: "... it will cost just a penny more to mail letters to any location in the United States, the first price change ... in more than two and a half years."

Sheesh. When you phrase it like that, I almost hate to complain about another jump in the price of stamps.

Bottom line: this news release -- obviously written by a pro -- illustrates the importance of context and language when communicating bad news to clients (or anyone).

It also shows how important it is for your marketing communications to be written by a pro ....

... because, while Bob the mailman or Dolores the postal clerk are pros at what they do and can tell you all about the new prices, they are NOT pros at choosing exactly the right words for this marketing message. 

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here

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