BNR 123: Jonathan Crossfield on the Power of Plain Language

Jan 17, 2017
Brand Newsroom Marketing Podcast

A lawyer recently took Instagram’s Terms and Conditions and rewrote them so teenagers could understand which of their rights they were giving away when they clicked “agree”.

That got the Brand Newsroom team thinking about the power of using plain language instead of politi-speak, jargon, academic terminology and mangled English.

Nic Hayes is our host this week. He’s joined by Sarah Mitchell and Jonathan Crossfield. Stay listening to the end to hear our new segment, “On My Desk”, where the team makes recommendations you might well enjoy.

Here are some key take-outs:

“Anyone who’s watched a politician at work will know they often choose their words to obfuscate what they’re trying to say or avoid saying.” — Jonathan Crossfield


“We get into these habits of saying things we think make us sound smart or we think our audience wants to hear — and often it’s describing our products or services in exactly the same way everybody else does. When you actually go in and remove those words, you end up sounding a whole lot smarter than before.” — Sarah


“One of the reasons why a lot of people say Donald Trump has been really effective is because his vocabulary has been tracked at that of a nine-year-old. That said, often the concepts he puts across are quite vague and that allows people to put their own meaning to those words and that works in his favour.” — Jonathan Crossfield

Here are the links you might need

‘On My Desk’

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic took a close look at why a brand evangelist is more effective than a salesperson.

And here’s a discussion about the rise of fake news and the post-truth era.

Like what you’ve heard?

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For more information about the show, visit the Brand Newsroom website, where you can join the Brand Newsroom Community and receive exclusive content and opportunities to meet James, Nic and Sarah.