When words fail you, perhaps you ought not write a blog for the Department of Words.
Or as the philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, said: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should remain silent.”
Speechless as I am, I will press on.
What struck me speechless was an email I received from an organisation in which I have, at various times, placed some trust, if not hope.
When Jeremy Corbyn was campaigning to be leader of the Labour party (the first time round), I paid £3 to join as an affiliate and voted for him. After all, Things Can’t Get Any Worse, as the old D:ream Labour anthem went.
From the second I parted with my £3, I received a regular stream of emails from the party. They emailed me throughout the general election campaign. They continued emailing me on a variety of issues, invited me to soirées (tempting), sought my support on marches and emailed me at every opportunity to build on the interest I had shown. Fair enough. They were in Corbyn’s own words “harnessing the advances of new technology to organise political campaigning like we’ve never seen before.”
Then, when the biggest issue of 21st century British political history arose i.e. Brexit, they went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid. Here’s how they harnessed the advances of new technology to open their pitch…..
Yes, there I was. In an age of targeted, data driven, digital communications, having my most fervent social and political views sought, being addressed as “Firstname” under the subject heading “What about you?”
Who me? Firstname? Yeah, we really want to know what you think, Firstname. Your views matter, Firstname. And then further down the email they suggested I, Firstname, donate another twenty quid to party funds.
I only wish I had gone to those soirées. (“Prosecco, Firstname?”) Or the Christmas party at the home of my MP. (“Compliments of the season, Firstname, mince pie?”) Oh, the introductions (“Jeremy, Firstname. Firstname, Jeremy.”)
Sorry. Considering I said I was speechless, I am going on. But it is the basics of communication. Get the name right. Know your target audience as well as possible. Or you only make life harder for your message and your brand.
It reminds me of my 25 years as a Tottenham Hotspur season ticket holder. 25 seasons @ around £350 each plus merchandise and catering. All to watch false dawns rise and fade. Every year THFC greeted me with a letter that began Dear Sir or Madam Welcome to another season at White Hart Lane. After a quarter of a century of a customer relationship, you might think they would have tried a little harder. Try my name. Say my name, say my name. They might have got more than £8,750 out of me.
I won’t even speak whereof they continued to put David Ginola on the season ticket three years after he’d left for another team. I forgive Spurs. You expect farce and incompetence from football now and then. But not from people who would run the country.