Today, I was driving behind a rental truck from the company ViaRoute.
On the back of the truck, the words : “Notre meilleur tarif – GARANTI” (Translated: “Our best rate – GUARANTEED”).
Think about it. That is such a meaningless promise. If anything, all that says is “don’t negotiate with us.” It says nothing about getting the best price, only that you’re getting THEIR best price. But what does the reader read? Likely not what they originally thought.
Why am I coming back with another example?
Simple. Examples are ALL around us. I’m positive that, if you paid attention to the thousands of ads and marketing mentions you see in a day, you’d see dozens of examples without much difficulty.
Some of you might be saying, “Mark, really? This isn’t important. Who cares? etc…” Well, it is important.
Companies have no qualms choosing words that *sound* advantageous to the customer but are really designed to protect themselves. Don’t kid yourself. They choose their words very carefully. Why? Just like that faint disclaimer on TV commercials and the fine print on contracts, they know that the law requires them to uphold the promises they make, and these carefully chosen words dumb down their promises, thereby reducing their responsibility.
Herein lies an important (read: crucial) distinction – laws force companies to honour the promises they make, NOT the promises someone ASSUMES they make because they didn’t bother reading the promise as it was written.
Moral of the story: Read carefully, and question anything that isn’t perfectly clear. Remember, in business and in social life, you can only hold someone to what they said, not what you think they said; and this, only if you listened to it in the first place.
(As for brevity… getting better :))