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Hounding the jargon of latter-day Dogberrys

[16 Dec 2013] Every Saturday the Daily Mail's money pages lampoon business leaders for mangling their language in the manner of Dogberry, Shakespeare’s constable in Much Ado About Nothing. Here are two of the Dogberry column’s recent hits:

• Ruby Mcgregor-Smith, chief executive of Mitie:

‘Comprehensive energy proposition supports every key energy issue faced by our clients.’

This may mean that Mitie’s energy division helps clients to buy, use and generate energy more cost-efficiently. ‘Proposition’ has become a favourite bit of business-speak, with people holding job titles such as ‘head of customer proposition’ while spouting about their ‘client offerings’.

• Angela Ahrendts, chief executive, Burberry:

‘Burberry is under-penetrated in these entry categories to the brand.’

An ‘entry category to the brand’ probably means one of Burberry’s cheaper products, as in ‘entry level’. So she is saying that Burberry needs to sell its cheaper goods in certain areas of the world.

Ahrendts also remarked that the group had ‘success in the key shape strategy’ and told investors that the ‘replenishment heritage programmes remained robust’. The meaning, if any, of these statements remains unknown.

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