I DIG ENGLISH - just a cool blog about English

I hope you enjoy reading this blog
half as much as I enjoy writing it for you.
Because I have a ball.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Business English: The C Word

Hello everybody!

This superlong post is in two parts just in case there is a person willing to read the whole thing (LOL). I have figured that will save you time scrolling down to get to the glossary.
Have a fabulous weekend!


In the latest season of America's Next Model, the finalists are taught, among other things, that in order to establish a successful brand you need for this brand to be associated with one single word. What follows is that the aspiring models label themselves with words such as 'girlfriend', 'survivor' or 'daring' and then try to personify them: they act in a friendly way, are brave or bend every rule of the competition. Another old business mantra is that 'sex sells', which can be expressed by a simple formula: any semi-functional product + hot chick = jackpot. Noah Kerner and Gene Pressman, the authors of Chasing Cool, believe that what sells products today is 'cool'. All successful brands and their products are thought to be cool by their respective audiences. However, when you ask the authors if there is one definition or formula for cool, they say no.

Cool sells because young people gravitate towards it and older people covet it. In boardrooms, product managers try to find a shortcut for cool. They spend money on focus groups and trend reports. They cooperate with hip advertising agencies. According to the authors of the book, it is all in vain. Cool can't be hunted down and bottled. It is not the outcome of a chase. You can't find it if you look for it. But if you are passionate about your brand/ product, have a strong authentic vision and are brave enough to follow you gut, cool will find you.

Don't Be Mr Me Too

If you want cool to find you, don't imitate what your competitors have. Don't look at another person's backyard. Instead, change the rules of the game. You need your product to stand out and therefore you need to give it a point of difference. Come up with a disruptive idea like the one the producers of the Grey Goose vodka had – to import their vodka from France, ship it in wooden crates and market it as the best vodka in the world; or like the editor of Us Weekly, who was the first to show that celebrities are just like us – they can be caught picking their nose, with a beer gut or dirty nails.

among other things – między innymi
to be associated with – kojarzyć się z
to label yourself with one word – tut. opisać, dosł. przyczepiać etykietkę
daring – odważna, śmiała
to personify – uosabiać
to bend – naginać, zginać
to express – wyrażać
a formula – wzór, przepis
semi- – w połowie, częściowo (half or partly)
a hot chick – seksowna laska/ dziewczyna
a jackpot – najwyższa wygrana (the largest prize offered in a competition, hit the jackpot – to win a lot of money
respective – odpowiednie, poszczególne
to gravitate towards – ciągnąć do czegoś
to covet something – pożądać
a shortcut for – skrót (take a shortcut – iść na skróty)
hip – supermodne
in vain – na próżno, nadaremnie
to hunt down – dopaść coś, upolować coś (to search everywhere for someone or something until you find them
an outcome – wynik, rezultat
a chase – pościg, pogoń
to follow your gut – postępować zgodnie z intuicją. przeczuciem
to imitate – naśladować
a competitor – konkurent, rywal
a backyard – ogród, podwórko (small space surrounded by walls at the back of a house, usually with a hard surface)
to stand out – wyróżniać się
a point of difference – element wyróżniający
disruptive – destrukcyjny, tut. wprowadzający zamieszanie
to ship – przewozić, transportować
a crate – skrzynka
an editor – redktor(ka)
to pick one's nose – dłubać w nosie
a beer gut – brzuch po piwie, brzuch piwosza


Don't outsource too much

Cool can't be served on a silver platter by trend spotters, cool hunters, field researchers or social scientists. Those outsiders don't know your company and what it stands for. They don't have the understanding of the nuances that make up your company's DNA. If you need to ask young people about what is cool, ask your employees who are part of the company's internal culture. If they can't answer this question, then you know you have to start surrounding yourself with inspired and curious people who can. Next time you hear street kids say that mesh back trucker hats titled to one side are the shit, make sure you don't use them in your advertising campaign. Let your competitors use them and think about something else that will better represent your brand image.

Gimmicks can only work so long

It is true that viral marketing can buy you buzz and attract consumers' attention. You can get thousands or even millions of people from the YouTube community talking about your brand or product within a few days. However, if the product you promote doesn't deliver on its promise – isn't what it claims to be, customers will soon lose the interest you have generated and the product won't be cool. As a result of viral marketing gone wrong, you may also alienate your existing customer base. Also, instead of paying celebrities to show your product on the red carpet or on the streets in front of paparazzi, create a product that celebrities will want to buy with their own money. Trunk, for example, which reproduces vintage rock t-shirts, never pays anybody to wear their tees; rarely gives anything for free and requests their shirts back after any photo shoot. Still, celebrities are willing to wear Trunk even if they are not paid to do so.

There is no such thing as a quick fix for cool. You can't find it , engineer it or buy it. However, if you've got a strong vision and are gutsy enough to follow it, your brand may one day become the epitome of cool.

For more advice on cool, go to http://chasingcoolbook.com/

to outsource – zlecać część pracy innym firmom
a platter – półmisek, (served on a silver platter – podany na tacy)
to stand for – reprezentować, wierzyć w coś
a nuance – niuans
to make up – stanowić, składać się na coś
curious – ciekawi (interested in learning about people or things around you)
mesh – siatka
to tilt – przechylać, odchylać
a gimmick  – sztuczka, chwyt
(can) only work so long – działać tylko do (pewnego) czasu
viral marketing – marketing wirusowy
buzz – rozgłos
to deliver on one's promise – spełniać oczekiwania
to alienate – zrazić
vintage – klasyczne
a tee – a t-shirt
to request something back – prosić o zwrot
a photo shoot – sesja zdjęciowa
a quick fix for something – prowizoryczne rozwiązanie, rozwiązanie na skróty (something that seems to be a fast and easy solution to a problem but is in fact not very good or will not last long)
to engineer – zaaranżować, uknuć
gutsy – odważny
to be the epitome of – uosobienie, najlepszy przykład czegoś


  1. I enjoyed reading your article. I am the person who doesn't really stand out. In spite of it I do feel and look cool :) I like my own vintage style. Sometimes I personify to Anja Rubik who in my opinion is a fashion icon.

    warm regards

  2. I'm glad you did ;)

    See it works like this: you may be quiet but if you're yourself, you still stand out among others who are 'noisy copycats'

    Get inspired by others but stay true to yourself ;)

    Yes, I love Anja too. She's got a great style and class on and off the runway.


  3. I fully agree. Anja looks very feminine off the runway, I don't know whether you follow her up in gossip portals or magazines (concerning fashion of course), but I do! After seeing her dressed in leather trousers - I had to buy one for myself :) The same with some other clothes which she wears in her daily life. Recently I started to draw focusing on fashion - you might had a chance to see it on my blog ;)
    I wish one day to write in english like you do!!

  4. You're kidding :) I love gossip sites ;) and funny as it sounds I have learnt a lot of English following them ;) I have seen Anja's outfits and you're so right. She looks great every time she's photographed. The leather pants were great too. I agree. I myself could never pull them off though ;). You're lucky you can ;)
    I'm going to take a look at your blog, for sure ;)

    Oh, and thank you. I don't think that my writing is anything special but I'm really glad you enjoy the blog :)). If you want to get better, read a lot, listen to a lot of English and write as much as you can :)) I'm sure it will pay off!!!

    Good luck!


  5. Thanks for sharing this valuable piece of information with us. I am glad to find this stuff here. Keep up the good work.