Clear Thinking - The Business Experience



The Business Experience
Ideas Consultancy in Improving Organisation
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Business Performance Research

Why Communications Go Wrong ... and the Solution: AdQA

Our Research into the $bn comms' effectiveness problem

adverts, web-sites, selling, brochures, presentations, exhibition stands, slogans, signs

... and the solution: Advertising Quality Assurance


see AdQA, the world's first comms QA system  

"What are you selling?"

Our research has discovered 10 reasons why communications go wrong. Here's one simple but crucial cause: the great comms objectivity delusion.

We began by attending trade exhibitions as buyers and finding that over 20% of stands failed to get their basic selling message across in the time it takes to walk past. We struggled to work out what they were selling!

Yet when we pointed this problem out, the salesperson's response was invariably "It's obvious, surely" or "That's why we are here."

We realised that most marketing and sales people suffered the delusion that they could see and hear their communications from the customers' viewpoint. And, whilst they could see fault with other company's stands, their own selling messages were 'perfectly clear'.

In practice, nobody can judge their own communications! And conventional testing is highly unreliable. Here are two examples from the hundreds of cases we've studied:

♦ Just two words - a major global energy company was forced to cancel a £3million two-word slogan campaign after shareholders took a 'wrong' meaning.

♦ "Is that plane going to crash?" - an airline press advert was printed on its side; their creative agency's idea to capture 'attention'. Unfortunately, it gave the impression that the airplane was crashing towards the ground. This ad appeared three times before somebody pointed out the mistake.

Scroll down for more reasons why comms go wrong


Examples of 10 Reasons why Communications go wrong
 ... and one Solution, AdQA 

For the full list email and ask for our White Paper on "Why communications go wrong - 10 reasons"

1. Neuroscience

Many comms lose 50% effectiveness from the start

Few people in marketing and selling understand HOW people THINK when they encounter a communication.

We see and hear communications every single day that fail simply because the originators haven't taken into account HOW their audience might be thinking when they encounter the communication.

As well as being in a particular mood or mindset at the time, every individual has their own preferred 'ways of thinking' - their own Thinking Styles Preferences. For example, some press or digital ads can instantly lose 50% of their audience because the design only appeals to specific Thinking Styles within Whole-Brained Thinking.

2. Iffyness

... which is why no creative agency will guarantee the effectiveness of their work 

All communications are inherently ‘iffy’ - which is why no agency will offer a guarantee; they claim that too many factors can influence effectiveness.

But our ‘library’ of case studies (even by 'experts') show many examples of elementary mistakes that should have been easily spotted by any decent test system (Quality Assurance).

There are numerous causes of these mistakes, such as the "Too many cooks" trap: the more people involved in producing or commenting on a communication, the greater the risk of mistakes (or blandness). "Time warp" is another error cause: your ability to judge a communication falls off dramatically the longer the time taken to produce it. 



Nobody can really see themselves in a mirror

Most communicators mistakenly believe that they can judge their own communications. But our research proves that nobody can see or hear their own communications from the target’s viewpoint – they're too involved to be objective (Barrett's Law of Subjectivity).
Ask Gerald Ratner. He thought his 'jokes' about his 'total crap' product were funny!!! His speech at the IoD cost him his £500million business and spawned the phrase "doing a Ratner".

We would advise anyone producing an important communication to get an objective 'second opinion' from someone with no involvement in its production. 

 Read our White Paper on "Why communications go wrong - 10 Reasons"

Email to ask for our research on "Why communications go wrong - 10 Reasons", including examples from 'experts'.

The worst exhibition stand message we have seen is: "We provide total solutions".  This is absolutely meaningless unless you already know what they sell.

The Solution to Iffy-comms ... is AdQA,

Advertising Quality Assurance

Apply AdQA to your communications - ideally before publication. The world’s first Communications Quality Assurance System.

see AdQA Communications Pre-Testing and Improvement

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Like more information? Email us at for our White Paper on "Why communications go wrong" or more details on our AdQA services.