A picture dropped into my timeline this week on facebook from three years ago and it made me smile.
Posted seven years ago by one of the West Midlands Police Twitter accounts it captures an announcement in Cradley Heath Post Office.
Staff had written the announcement in long hand after a controversial change to how car tax was collected. I forget the detail. At the time it annoyed a lot of people.
What makes the sign brilliant is that it is written in Black Country. So, car tax is ‘car tox’. HMRC becomes ‘money mon’. You get the picture.
The image is here:
Why this is brilliant
The poster gets photographed. It gets shared online. It does two things. It tells people in there are changes but don’t shout at the staff. It also shows that the staff are human.
A while back Dudley Council made a Black Country dialect sign warning of road works. It got an overwhelmingly positive reaction and traffic flow fell which was the aim of the sign. Someone from Scotland, I remember, was quite dismissive at the time. Looking into it it was because lots of people do this with their Scottish comms and it was seen as a bit old hat. Thing is, people don’t do it in the Black Country.
People like the fact that they have a regional difference. They celebrate it. They also connect to it. Ten miles outside the Black Country and people will scratch their heads. But in the Black Country, oh boy.
Sometimes regional dialect deployed with the help of someone who speaks it goes down perfectly.
Yes, but this is a police account
It is. It’s great for the Post Office that a poster is being shared as it gets their message out. It’s also good for the police. Police police by consent. They are part of the community and the community agree to give them extra powers for the good of the community. It’s important for a good police force to know that and be aware. At times, such as Toxteth in 1981 and Tottenham in 1985 that consent breaks down with violent results. So, showing a human face here is good.
It’s also good from a social media point of view. If all your content is a call to action people get bored very quickly.