Commodities are currently a source of turmoil in financial markets.
Faced by the burgeoning shale oil and gas industry in the US, Saudi Arabia kicked off with a price war to protect their oil market dominance.
Then, the Chinese dragon, whose appetite for coal, oil, copper and iron could not be assuaged, faced falling industrial output, stock market volatility and currency gyrations. With the dragon seriously off its food, the soaring commodity supercycle has been brought to a juddering halt.
Confusion over the timing trajectory of US interest rates has not helped.
For Australia and emerging market commodity suppliers reliant on exporting commodities, the consequences are dire. These countries are not only experiencing plunging incomes but, like falling dominoes, billions of dollars of investment in the development of resources have been shelved.
Commodity trader Glencore, is the miner’s canary struggling for breath: as a commodity price taker its deep immersion in the toxic gasses of commodity price free fall has necessitated panic asset sales.
One heap of iron ore is identical to the next heap – in economic terms that is why commodities are commodities. However, some firms, while not immune from collapsing commodity prices, are insulated against the price shocks.
These producers have a value-added marketing strategy: they are price makers, not price takers. By meeting customers’ individual needs for commodity quality and mix, just-in-time delivery and financing, they transform bog standard commodity sales into bespoke services contracts.
Words As Commodities
Words are commodities when they are churned without an appreciation of their underlying values: when they are debased as a means to an end with their intrinsic qualities ignored.
Commodities are simple, but have potential. Words are de-commoditised when a writer embraces a written piece as a coherent whole: value is added to iron ore when it is envisaged of as a car or a ship. It the same with words.
At FinanceWriter we look at the thought leadership articles, annual reports, speeches and case studies that we compose as a cohesive flow of words so as to create articles, documents and reports that are integrated, paced, coherent and consistent.
Commoditised creativity: a contradiction in terms.
By de-commoditising words we take the opportunity to refine the readers' engagement with, and their understanding of, what they are reading. We seek to use words in subtle ways; weighing them up, balancing them, creating a “tone of voice” that reflects the character, the messaging and the brand of those for whom the piece is being written. And while we select words to reinforce the values embodied in our clients’ brands by underwriting their verbal branding strategy, we also seek to provoke thoughtfulness and discernment as well as adding authority to what is being written.
At FinanceWriter we avoid the mistake of adding value by increasing complexity. We seek integrate ideas into a stream to make them clear, logical and accessible. But above all, what we write must make sense.
In financial writing in particular the writer needs to keep it simple. But the writer needs to know their audience, for example whether it is a professional or retail readership, a group of fund managers or of bankers. That way the writer can rely on some assumed knowledge; they don’t have to spell out every minute detail or they risk “talking down” to their readers. After all IKEA self-build instructions don’t spell out what a screwdriver is to their DIY enthusiasts!
In poetry not everything is explicit. Poetry works by implication, by what is suggested in a coherent whole. As a poet might have said, “It’s not what you say, but the way that you say it.”