No cat on your Zoom call? Well, get one!

No cat on your Zoom call? Well, get one!

The New Formal is informal

Lockdown has taught us that informality does not signify lack of professional expertise or seriousness.

It wasn't always so.

We all remember Professor Robert Kelly, the unfortunate expert on Korea whose video interview with the BBC went viral in 2017 when his children gatecrashed his office.

These days Prof Kelly would probably be positively encouraged to get his kids or pets into shot.

We have seen at least two financial services adverts where the director has artfully ensured a cat turns up while a staff member says their bit.

Highbrook has long encouraged less formal language and modes of expression, so we are all for it. These days, you don’t need to wear a ball gown or dinner jacket to be considered an expert. Hence our slogan, “Clever content. Made by humans”.

Highbrook thinks a person is more likely to be respected and considered authoritative if they are down-to-earth and don’t rely on the accoutrements of office to elevate their status. People trust people.

Let's face it, people are all we have. The office is closed. The atrium foyer and marble reception desk no longer speak of power and knowledge.

That said, you should watch your Zoom background. The choice of artwork can be crucial (see Matt Hancock’s carefully curated Damien Hirst painting of the Queen, screaming “I’m patriotic but still hip”). And one commentator of our acquaintance quietly admits arranging all his own books on the shelf behind him.

Still, if you’ve got it flaunt it, we say.


Anagram corner

We’ve always loved a good anagram and thought that “Britney Spears” = “Presbyterians” would be hard to beat. Much kudos then to whoever took the latest government slogan, “Stay alert. Control the virus. Save lives”, and reformed the letters as “Easily survives travel north to castle”.
What on earth could they be referring to?

Bullsh*t detector 1

Bandwidth. As in Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, said: ‘The longevity and complexity of this crisis is ... testing the bandwidth of our current decision-making structures’.”  Tech metaphors don’t impress us any more, Toby.

Bullsh*t detector 2

We are loving that Normal People, the drama of the moment, lists among its credits a “talent executive”. A talented exec might be more useful?

Bullsh*t detector 3

Know something’s really true, so you don’t want to admit it but can’t deny it? Try the latest fashion in non-denial denials and deny recognition. As in, “Asked if doctors were being asked to compromise on PPE, he said: ‘I don't recognise that’.” More examples almost every day at 5 o’clock.

Get our newsletter for insights into modern comms