I believe in the power of the written word to inspire an audience and to lead them on a visceral journey of self-discovery. I am writer, but I still make mistakes, leave drafts riddled with typos, drop letters from words, invent new words, and militaristically support the oxford comma. But I always try to get the story correct. Or at least somewhat clear.
I love writing corporate manifestos and scripts for brand anthem films. I’ve written a lot of them over the years. They’re big and powerful. They’re designed to inspire and unite teams and leave a lasting emotional impression. They help put companies in perspective for both the employees and their customers. An artfully crafted “about page” on a website can be the difference between global domination and bankruptcy (maybe, probably … probably not).
But sometimes, every so often, you run across one of these anthems or corporate overviews that go beyond their basic duty and simply become – all capital letters – ART.
Here is such a story…
“Flextronics or: How I Learned to Stop Writing Corporate Nonsense and Love the Power of Clarity in Words.”
A few years ago, I was driving around the bay area visiting several of our client’s customers as part of a brand transformation project. I was in the back seat as we passed by a series of newly constructed industrial park office buildings. As we turned a corner, I noticed one of the buildings had the google logo (in her bright and shiny technicolor glory). Most buildings in the Bay Area have a google logo these days, so it was more of a novelty. Next to her, however, was the building that caught my eye.
Flextronics, written in the most amazing 80’s video game typography, jumped off the building and into my curiosity. I asked my fellow passengers if they had also seen this amazing icon of human achievement? They had.
We laughed and assumed it was a CIA front, considering the proximity to Google. None of us had ever heard of such a made-up-company-name before, so we googled. What we found was nothing short of marketing amazement. The Gold Medal of writing. The Nobel Prize for corporate speak. The Medal of Honor for “saying nothing, while saying everything.”
As I read the “about page” word for word to my fellow passengers, each carefully crafted word rolled off my tongue as if it had been written for my voice, and my voice alone, to read. It was magical. I was truly inspired, but perhaps for the wrong reason. It was like a puzzle to solve. Who is Flextronics? Are they really a CIA front? Is this who John Galt is?
I enter it here, unedited, for your amazement, enjoyment, and investigation. It is long, but you may thank me for introducing you to one of the most perfect corporate “about page” the world has ever constructed. One that that does everything, yet says nothing.
At Flextronics, impossible is where breakthrough begins. As a socially-responsible, global leader in design, manufacturing, distribution and aftermarket services, Flextronics is unique in its ability to provide end-to-end solutions through its innovative and proprietary systems — all to enhance customer competitiveness and success. Working across four business groups and several business units, Flextronics is able to unleash the full potential of the world’s most valuable brands and new ventures.
What Flextronics creates is value. By increasing speed to market and driving competitive positioning for customers, Flextronics in essence solves customers’ most challenging problems better, faster and more cost effectively than any other company. Flextronics is able to manage big data in a way that allows for trending in market environments that are in flux, allowing the Company to provide solutions for customers, often before a challenge is ever realized.
Flextronics is unique in the depth, breadth and scope of the Company. With an unmatched global presence, customers are supported with unprecedented speed in product ramp-up, delivery, and the ability to manage volume regardless of complexity or product mix. Leveraging state-of-the-art LEAN practices, Six Sigma, key investments in infrastructure and FlexQ, a propriety quality program that is beyond leading edge according to customers, Flextronics is the market leader in almost every business in which it operates. Whether high mix/low volume or low mix/high volume, Flextronics can enable any customer’s success.
At Flextronics, there is no room for “mediocrity.” If anything, the Company exists to continually test the bounds of what can be expected in terms of designs and processes. Optimization is what Flextronics does best.
People make the difference. People with passion have an even greater impact. The Flextronics team spans more than 30 countries and four continents, and has a global workforce of 200,000. Each member of the team is dedicated to enabling customer success. That is achieved through intense collaboration, passionate customer focus, thoughtful and disciplined execution, a tenacious commitment to continuous improvement and a relentless drive to win.
Culture is the most important sustainable, competitive advantage of any company. The Flextronics culture is built on commitment — to customers, employees, the communities in which it operates and the environment. Flextronics is a global leader in non-profit/for-profit partnership, providing assistance in the places around the world that need it most. The Flextronics Foundation provides assistance in the areas of natural disaster relief, human rights and educational opportunities. Culture drives every aspect of the Company’s success. The culture and business model work hand-in-hand to ensure simplicity, flexibility and above all — sustainability.
Do you know what they do? Nah, neither did I, but I felt so damn empowered that I continued to search for a good while longer to try and figure it out. I won’t say how long it took, but now I think I know what they do. I think.
What’s your best guess?
In the years since this discovery, I have often gone back to read the Flextronics about page. They’ve recently re-branded, so I have to find it on archive.org. It’s a reminder for me to “stop trying to be a writer” and just write. Write with clarity, precision, and with directness. Flextronics … you were my true first love of copywriting. We will always have San Jose.