Ellun Kanat: full of inconsistencies
Updated: Aug 29
Ellun Kanat is a prominent Finnish PR agency known for its links to the National Coalition Party, which is currently the prime minister’s party. It has a turnover of €6.4 million and a profit of €376,000. Its employees are often quoted in the papers, appearing on current affairs programmes and speaking at events. The firm has big clients such as the Finnish National Gallery, the Tax Administration and the City of Tampere. So why can’t it spend some money to make its English consistent?
Here is a mere sample of the inconsistencies in the English on the website of Ellun Kanat. As well as being inconsistent, the firm’s website in English feels like a minimum of effort was put into it. My impression is they translated it from Finnish, or got someone to write it in English, and then did a grammar and readability check. It’s clearly more than what most firms do, it must be said. But there is room for improvement.
First impressions: we don’t care how we look
The first thing a visitor to the English-language site sees is this:
“Your insightful partner-in-change”, it says. Then, when you scroll down, you see this:
We are asked: “Looking for a partner in change?” In other words, the phrase “partner in change” is hyphenated and unhyphenated on the same page. This looks bad.
(An additional issue is what “partner in change” even means. I think it’s a humorous attempt at sounding like “partner in crime”.)
Do the English yourself — and hope for the best
Further down the homepage, under the headline “What will the future look like?”, we read the following:
Ellun Kanat invited companies in our Executive Insights -network to share what the future looks like from their perspective during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. We used Inclus -tool for insight to help companies to evaluate different trends and their impact, with over 100 companies taking part.
The problem here are the two little hyphens, before “network” in the first sentence and before “tool” in the second. These are here because Finnish uses hyphens there. When a common noun is named using a proper noun, “the Executive Insights network”, the common noun is hyphenated. This is a kind of compensation for the inability of Finnish to turn the capitalized word into part of a compound word. But this isn’t Finnish. The hyphens aren’t necessary. The correct version of these sentences would be:
Ellun Kanat invited companies in our Executive Insights network to share what the future looks like from their perspective during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. We used the Inclus tool for insight to help companies to evaluate different trends and their impact, with over 100 companies taking part.
Note that I also added the missing definite article “the” before “Inclus tool”.
Tell-tale signs like these show what’s really going on in this company: they get a Finn to write the content in English, run a spell check, and hope for the best. No native speaker or other expert on English was consulted at any stage. “It’s only some text that’s going on our homepage: what does it matter?”
Variety is the spice of life — most of the time
Staying on the homepage, Ellun Kanat offers more inconsistency. At the top, we read:
Ellun Kanat is a visionary change agency that helps organizations navigate their ways through turbulence and instability
When we scroll down, we find this:
Due to Double Disruption, companies and organisations biggest megatrend in the decade of 2020 will be change intelligence.
Both “organization” and “organisation” are correct spellings in British English, but only “organization” is correct spelling in American English. Ellun Kanat is unable to decide which variant it wants to use. If your firm uses both spellings on the same page, it looks bad. This is one area where variety is not the spice of life. Choose a standard and stick to it.
Faceless copy is at the heart of our brand
As I’ve written above, the English that Ellun Kanat uses on its website is not bad. It’s just full of inconsistencies. There is a broader problem, however. The text on their website looks exactly the same as that produced by other Finnish PR firms. Spot the differences between these two texts:
Without trust and the capacity for change, even the best strategy will fail. The ability to renew in an unpredictable operating environment will determine the fate of a company.
We live in transformational times. The complexity and unpredictability of the world demands new ways of thinking and doing. We find this relies on the following key components.
The first is from Ellun Kanat and the second is from Miltton. Is it just me or do they look like copies of each other?
Now, I’m not an expert in strategy consulting, but I think it’s strange if the text on your website is eerily similar to your competitor’s. When you translate your site to English, that’s a good opportunity to think about how you sound. Do you sound like your competitors? If you removed your company name from your company materials, would anyone recognize that your copy was yours?
Another issue, which I will get back to in another blog post, is just how boring and bureaucratic a sentence like “Without trust and capacity for change, even the best strategy will fail” sounds. Tastes differ, of course, but this sentence smacks of civil-servant or social-welfare Finnish to my ear. The “even” is a good sign. But more on that another day.
Conclusion: a spell check is not enough
The English-language website of PR firm Ellun Kanat is not terrible, but it could be a lot better. There are three key ways this website makes a bad impression on potential clients:
The same words and phrases are spelt two different ways, often on the same page.
The text is Finglish, English written using Finnish conventions: a Finn wrote it in English and ran a basic spell check.
The English is plain boring. It’s long-winded and says nothing about this particular company. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd at all.
Ellun Kanat is financially successful, so they’re doing something right. I don’t think the English version of their website is doing them any favours, though. They could have it rewritten and improve their image in English. It would be a relatively small investment that would reap rewards.
Don’t be boring in English. Order a translation from me in English you won’t be ashamed of, starting at €490 + VAT. Or, if your company already has text in English, order Reload™ from me for €1,990 + VAT. I’ll rewrite your boring text to make it interesting, helping you sell more.