One of social media’s great mysteries is why people think it’s appropriate to use holiday snaps showing them in their swimsuits for their LinkedIn profile pics. Complete with fruity cocktails and palm trees. LinkedIn is a business and professional platform. Users’ photos should reflect that. You can portray your personality and look warm and friendly […]

Two British institutions were in the media this week: the monarchy, with the birth of Prince George of Cambridge; and the Church of England, with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s support for credit unions and his challenge to payday loan companies. And two organisations were quick to exploit the marketing opportunities these events presented. One was […]

Oh Lord, I’ve just discovered a brand that’s a perfect marriage of product names and GIGO. (A pure coincidence, I swear). I bring you GIGO underwear, “100% MADE IN COLOMBIA”. Watch your back, David Beckham. By Marian Dougan

Product naming is an important part of branding and marketing, and one where international businesses can make costly mistakes if they fail to understand local language, slang, and all the connotations of a given word. Here are a couple of potential branding disasters in the car industry, courtesy of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting’s […]

A translation agency recently sent me a one-page (270 words) document, asking me to quote for “a re-write, not a straight translation”. I did my sums and sent off the quote, without thinking too much about it. The agency got back to me a couple of days later and gave me the go-ahead. Fine. But […]

…and he’s wishing he hadn’t. The phone rang. I answered. Me: Hello, Marian Dougan speaking. Caller (male): Hello, can I speak to the Managing Director? Me: Who’s calling, please? Caller: I’d like to speak to the Managing Director. Me: Yes, but who’s calling? Caller: It’s a business call, I’d like to speak to the Managing […]

I visited Borders UK’s Glasgow store a few days ago, feeling like a vulture as I filled my basket with cut-price books (TimeOut travel guides, IT (Mac) user-guides and English language reference books. Plus two novels by Elizabeth Jane Howard for my daughter).To my surprise I found myself feeling sad and nostalgic at the store’s […]

My last post was about Britain’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. Today’s is about American poet Marianne Moore and her relationship with the US car industry. Marianne was a winner of the Helen Haire Levinson Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize. In 1995, she was approached by David Wallace and Bob Young from Ford’s […]