Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Capgemini's comma-splice: results over people?

An obvious screenshot from the renewed site, here's the latest Capgemini slogan
Capgemini presented a glossy new site this Monday, announced and talked about on Twitter.

It looks really suave, but not everything has moved correctly: the Capping It Off blog seems to have been broken, still showing my last one, but without the picture and posted by someone else than me - oh well. If you move the slider in the Media box from Video to Blog, it's there on Capgemini's home page - a nice tribute ;-)

Capgemini has been daring enough to divide their offerings per business and technology sector, and providing a "Success Stories" label to each of them - setting themselves a high ambition level for that - what if there isn't a success story for a vertical or horizontal?
As a matter of fact, there wasn't, for more than a few of those. I pointed this out to an ex-colleague yesterday, and they quickly remedied it - now that's very fast

There is also a small tweetstream on the home page, showing a single tweet from NL CTO Ron Tolido and NL PTO Sander Hoogendoorn. It's not a dynamic one, it looks like those tweets are "compiled into the page" so to see. Still, it gives the site a nice social touch

However, I do have great difficulties with the new slogan: People matter, results count

It is a so-called comma splice, as a friend and former colleague pointed out to me:
A comma splice is the use of a comma to join two independent clauses where the clauses are not connected by a conjunction, semicolon, or period/full stop. For example: It is nearly half past five, we cannot reach town before dark
Two independent clauses: the absence of the coordinating conjunction (one of the following seven words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) causes the reader to make one up himself
  • People matter, for results count?
  • People matter, and results count?
  • People matter, but results count?
It is a puzzle, and it depends on the perception of the reader how this void is filled. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, this makes for small, bad or great puns or jokes, or anything else really: it's all left out in the open

Maybe that's an advantage.
At EOY appraisal, the manager can tell the employee: "Errr, people matter, but results count - so no raise for you this year - all the money you made for us is going into management".
A competitor might think: "People matter, yet results count - darn those people at Capgemini know how to please both sides of the coin; I must rebuild my entire HRM strategy now".
A customer may assume: "People matter, for results count. Hey those Capgemini people only matter because they give me results: now that is a good reason to pay high rates for them"

Or, maybe, it's a disadvantage.
Disgruntled employees will think: "Yeah right, we matter, but don't count. Nothing new there, I can easily tell by my annual salary decrease. Pah!"
Critical employees will tell their boss: "See? Show me some results, and don't tell me I have to get them for you. I'm people, just like you, and I get results - now you do the same!"
Happy employees may reason: "Ah, people matter nor results count. I don't have to worry about a thing, everything will be alright at the end of the day - it's all up to the Universe"
Update 16th November 17:03 CET: I got a tweet from @CapgeminiNLPR saying "@ When you consider CBE, it might shed another light on the brand promise (see press release: http://tinyurl.com/39xcd2m)", pointing me to their launch page. Comments are from Philippe Grangeon, Capgemini Group Marketing & Communications Director. So, it's a French quote - that explains a lot. I could tell more about that, but won't - sorry
Open-ended statements don't make for very good slogans

2 reacties:

Steve Brammer said...

Martijn, something seems to have gone wrong communication-wise. My understanding when the new slogan was announced at the last rencontres was that it was a full stop in the middle not a comma... "People matter. Results count". Something has obviously happened since the rencontres because, as you point out, it is definitely a comma on the new website. There is a lot of discussion around this ongoing on Yammer, as you probably can guess.

Martijn Linssen said...

Thanks Steve, a period would be a bit better, stressing that there's no relation between the two ideas - but that would be a bit awkward as well as that would say something like "People Matter. And results count"

Stressing the lack of relation between the two, the question arises: what are they doing together in a slogan?

It does make more sense though, thank you for the explanation!

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