Emotive and topical – the battle of HMRC versus Google is a story that is bound to run and run.

However you judge the situation and whichever side you find yourself on, there are a host of things we can learn about the art of communication from this intriguing topic.

Margaret Hodge from the Public Accounts Committee has put the case forward from the Government and HMRC perspective and used emotional language and a number of negative references from the state of the UK economy, the lack of moral integrity in big business and even the factory collapse in Bangladesh.  Google on the other hand have stated their position based on the existing laws on taxation in very plain and simple terms.

The Government (in theory) represent the best interests of the population.  Google (in theory) represent the best interests of their shareholders.

Even though there is a growing need for business to embrace emotional thinking and language when appropriate, the straight talking, ‘these are the facts’ approach just works in this case.  If Google had approached this situation with a ‘woolly’ response there would be room for the emotion to infect their position. This has not been the case and you feel that it is business as usual within the walls of the Google empire.

The responses from the public are split. Too often we allow our emotions to be guided by media opinion, in the belief that the media represent the expert view. In the world of the large corporation the more we allow emotional language to populate the information we are communicating the less likely we are to convince and guide. Should this be the case I wonder? Is there room for more emotional communication in big business?

Even within the realm of social media this divide seems to exist; Facebook is awash with emotional language and LinkedIn is filled with non emotional detail.

I sense a turning point, fast approaching, though. Business is beginning to remember that ‘people’ are the currency that counts and a long term future cannot be guaranteed without the trust and backing of the paying public.

If your ‘public’ adore what you do then you may easily find them sympathetic when there is a struggle to overcome. The human side of business can be a huge ally in times of trouble. If the benefits derived from our relationship with businesses outweighs the issue at hand then corporations will survive and, indeed, thrive, even in extreme circumstances.

My local sweet shop advertised the fact that they were struggling and were nearing the point of no return. Brave move but very human and emotional. The public flocked to support and the business is on the road to recovery. Even Margaret Hodge, when questioned about using an alternative search engine to Google, found that the effectiveness of how Google works and the results they deliver made the shift a difficult one. The relationship we build with the businesses in our lives and those that business forge with us, makes all the difference when push comes to shove.

One of the saddest things about the demise of our high streets is that we feel as though we are loosing a number of familiar ‘friends’, those emotional bonds have been broken and it hurts. This tells me there is room for emotion in business and building relationships is incredibly difficult without it.

We will see how Google and HMRC resolve their differences but it does seem to be a case of Fair versus Legal and they may have to agree to disagree until laws catch up with business globalisation.

In our connected and communication friendly world, the relationship that is forged on honesty, trust, service and value is one that all businesses must continue to work at because in the end this will mean the difference between success and failure.

We will be watching and listening with great interest…

Nick Looby is a Communication Consultant and works for a number of Corporate Clients to enhance the way they communicate both internally and externally to ensure they achieve more success. To contact Nick: email nick@feetontheground.co.uk or give him a call on 07800662450 to see if he can make the difference that your business needs.