Home > Business Affairs, Culture and Society > Dear Company X: I read your boilerplate six times. I still don’t know what you do.

Dear Company X: I read your boilerplate six times. I still don’t know what you do.

The below boilerplate from a business which shall not be named was forwarded to me by a coworker with the simple note:

I’ll give you five bucks if you can tell me what this company does.

Fancying myself quite the wordsmith, I read the thing six times. And I still have no idea what this company’s function is or why someone would hire them to perform it.

[Redacted] is a company focused on leveraging business and commercial opportunities for Latin American global companies and business conglomerates by providing direct channels and granting unique business investment opportunities. Through the strategic alliances, [redacted] extends and optimizes business value chains integrating markets from strategic global locations.

We work together with our customers to create and implement the commercial ventures that Latin American enterprises currently require in the face of globalization. Therefore, our knowledge, experience, and network add value to our customers finding the appropriate channels to turn opportunities into tangible benefits.

There’s no wordsmithing to be done if nothing of the words mean anything. That’s what happens to buzzwords in today’s business communications landscape – eventually it’s a “scorched earth” situation where there’s nothing left of value in them. This company manages to pack in, at my count, about 14-16 buzzwords and phrases which served, as usual,  only to confuse me more.

“Leveraging opportunities?” Why not just taking opportunities?

Providing direct channels? Whaa? Business value chains? Whaa?

Integrating? Strategic alliances? Addingvaluetocustomersfindingtheappropriatechannelstoturnopportunitiesintotangiblebenefits? Kill me now.

Wait, don’t kill me before I give you an offer you can’t refuse. I’ll up my colleague’s ante and give $15 to whomever can explain in one precise sentence what this company does for its clients and why anyone should hire them. (Then I’ll take it to my colleague and let him give me $5.)

Lesson learned for all us communicators: use precise, exact language. Don’t make a reader dissect your prose six times and still not understand it. Nobody cares that much. And please, please torch those buzzwords.

Send me your answers and rake in the big bucks (hey, $15 will get you a whole cocktail in Miami!): julia@schwartz-media.com.

  1. May 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I think they are looking for American businesses to hook up with Latin American holding companies and other enterprises.

    For that they take a fee, I am quite sure, or a percentage.

    The direct channels are that they have the existing contacts and businesses that are there in South America who will give them “direct” market access.

    Strategic alliances probably means “we have the ways and means” to get you into the Latin Market.

    All the other crap after that is just more of the same. Man what a bunch of overblown jargon!

    Blah, blah… implement….commercial ventures… globalization…appropriate channels.

    Just a bunch of wordy words meant to let you know they really know what they’re talking about.

    Basically, this would be better: “If you’re looking to get into South America… we can hook you up.”

    • juliakwakefield
      May 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm

      Wow, Robin – quite the translator, you! And that, folks, is it: “if you’re looking to get your business into South America, we can hook you up.”

      Robin, I owe you $15, to be tendered at the next AWC event!

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