Engineers are a passionate lot.
Hard to tell when they phrase that passion as specs, formulas and equations. Translating their enthusiasm into conversational English is tough. But not too tough for xtraBrandwidth.
Client: Akzo Nobel, a multinational chemical company
Assignment: Teach the Akzo Nobel engineering division how to solicit jobs from customers outside the company. The division had years of experience providing engineering consultancy to the parent company. Yet it had no experience in translating that experience into a commercial story. Develop a brochure template and sample brochure to demonstrate this new customer-focused proposition.
What the client said:
Although Leslie was always sensitive to Akzo Nobel’s wishes she was also looking at how she could translate its (often highly technical) information into easily readable, customer-oriented text.
Several of the people who briefed her on the project were impressed that someone without a background in either engineering or process manufacturing could interpret their information so well.
Michael Gould Associates
Client: The International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI), an international research and consultancy nonprofit organization
Assignment: Develop an alternative ‘annual report’ that described the organization’s highly technical water projects in such a way as to emphasize the human benefits of the organization’s work, and help expand ILRI’s donor and advocate base. Tasks included:
- Developing a theme and name for the magazine (Ripples) that reflected both the organization’s interest in water and the far-reaching effect of its research
- Organizing the publication into sections, with an introduction tying each section into the theme
- Interviewing 10 of the organizations scientists
- Researching the impact of the projects around the world in human terms
- Integrating each interview with the appropriate human-aspect research, and the theme to produce a unique ‘angle’ for each story
- Writing all articles in a feature style and editing all copy
- Advising the organization on illustrations and photographs (emphasizing the human aspect of its work)
Lay people in the organization, some of whom had worked there for more than 15 years, reported that the magazine made clear for the first time what the scientists did in a non-technical and easily accessible way. The company distributed this annual report around the world and received high praise from the organization’s stakeholders.
What the client said:
With only a basic knowledge of the institute’s work (irrigation and drainage for rural development in developing countries) Leslie produced profiles that were gems of clarity and simplicity. Staff members she interviewed were extremely pleased. They agreed that she had managed to convey the problems they had confronted, grasped the most important aspects of the solutions they had developed and placed these in a context in a way that readers with little technical background or with experience in other fields could readily understand.
International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI)