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Case study: PWC

Proving it’s smart to keep your language simple

0 min read, tagged in Consulting, Writing and in Brand & marketing.

‘It used to take me two bottles of wine to get through your reports. I’ve finished this one in under a glass.’

That was the feedback from a PwC client after their consultants started using their new global tone of voice. One we’d created to help them put their readers first — by talking to them like humans, and prioritising being clear over sounding clever. ​

The consultants took a bit of convincing

Like many technical experts we work with, they worried that writing more simply would feel like dumbing down. So we rewrote some of their reports, taking out jargon, simplifying language, cutting down word counts — and setting new PwC records for viewership and engagement.

De-jargoning the masses

We helped the new tone catch on quickly with videos, guides, white papers, and e-learning modules. Then we trained over 13,000 people in six continents, and put internal writing ‘champions’ in place around the world. Today, we still give PwC support and coaching, and have written hundreds of thousands of words for them.

Let the numbers do the talking

Soon after they started using their new tone of voice, PwC had:​

45.3K​ unique online visitors to their Trendsetter reports​.
5
​ major media shout-outs, in The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Forbes, Bloomberg, and Business Week.
7,000 ​online visitors to their global annual CEO survey and report.
500+
​ shares of the blog that went with the survey​.

Lose the ego, win the work

Every year, PwC teams around the world tell us our work has been a key part of their success. And the engagement stats on their writing speak for themselves. But best of all, they now put their clients’ reading experience (and alcohol consumption) first. As one jargon-jaded client put it: ​

‘Refreshingly frank. It’s a nice change, paying an advisor for their opinion – and then not having to work out what it is.’

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