Photo: Rob Suisted
It’s not about fun—plain English is essential to our business
We compete in an international market. Our expertise helps us win work but so too does our sharp, innovative thinking and clear writing. Ten years ago, we decided to focus on explaining complex and, at times, novel ideas simply and compellingly. Since then, we have grown 20 percent each year and expanded from our original two offices in Wellington and Paris to additional offices in Washington DC, New York, Sydney and Bogotá. Our uncompromising focus on clarity has played a major part in achieving that success. Our expectation of clear writing starts when staff are recruited and stops only when they leave. Our comprehensive plain English standard, developed after we first won “Best Organisation” in the 2007 WriteMark Plain English awards, is used by writers and reviewers every day. It has not been easy; it can be painful for staff—who are intelligent, highly qualified, and often multi-lingual. Regardless of where and when they may be working (often in difficult situations), their writing must comply with our standard. After our repeat win in the 2015 Write Mark Plain English awards, we reflected on the past 10 years. What we have achieved—for us and our clients—tells us the decision made 10 years was a wise one.