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G is for Great Writing

Connecting emotionally with your audience.

photo 1What makes the difference between an uninspired headline and a great one? Emotional connection. If you can evoke emotion from a reader, that means you’ve captured their attention. If you’ve captured attention, you’re much more likely to get the type of reaction or response you’re going for. The thing is, lots of clients hesitate to use emotion in their marketing messages. Maybe they think it lacks polish, is too out there or too risky. There are lots of ways to say the  same thing, but changing the words can make all the difference. Take a look at this video from UK content developers, PurpleFeather.

If your copy doesn’t evoke an emotion, it fails to really connect with the reader. So many ads and marketing messages miss the boat by simply stating the obvious. (I’m blind. versus It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.) (Or, We sell Widgets. versus  Our Widgets Will Make You Sing.) Sometimes a client will argue that we’re speaking to engineers or contractors or some other narrowly defined demographic where emotion doesn’t ‘apply.’ And I always say, engineers  (or whomever) are people too. We all have hearts, we all feel things and the best brand advertising and marketing makes you feel something because of great writing. No matter what you’re selling.

 

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F is for Friendships

Finding Friends Along the Way.

photo 3 copyI recently read that Americans live to work but that Europeans work to live. I’ve thought about that quite a bit. I do think that as a culture we put ourselves into our work and often wrap our identities up with what we do to pay the bills. The question, “What do you do?” translates into how do you make a living and is used as a way to size up someone we’ve just met. As a single mother who owns her own business I do find that many of my friendships are born from my work experience. My staff and clients all become my friends. It’s hard to find the time (or the energy) to get out and do new things when you work long hours, often including weekends. Makes sense that social media has become such an integral part of our day — it’s a way to feel connected while we’re working so hard!

Recently, two friends that I’ve really enjoyed in my life have moved on with their lives — and therefore out of mine. I’ll miss seeing their cheerful faces on a regular basis, and already feel the void of the special camaraderie we shared. But, I applaud them for finding the courage to embrace new paths and wish them complete satisfaction and happiness with their respective decisions. Here’s to making the most of our workaday worlds, and to enjoying the friends we make along the way… for as long as they may last.

 

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E is for Exceeding Expectations…?

Elevate Your Brand.

photo 2 copyHow many times have you read this phrase in a marketing brochure or on a web site: “We will meet or exceed your expectations.”? What, exactly does that mean? The problem with this kind of canned marketing language is that not only does it do zip to build your brand — it’s a real buzz kill. Words and phrases like this do nothing to distinguish you and, therefore, elevate your brand. Think about it. This common phrase can be (and unfortunately is) used by virtually any business or service organization. I could say it as an Ad Agency,(in fact, a lot of marketers do use this phrase which is not a good sign for what you can expect in terms of creative product), the law firm around the corner, the caterer down the street, the florist across town, the salon, the landscaping company, the bank, the insurance agency, the auto body shop — you get the idea — can all use this phrase. The fact that it can be used by anyone renders it virtually meaningless from a brand marketing standpoint. The whole point to establishing a strong brand is to determine what makes you different. AND, to find a way to express that difference to your audience. It doesn’t have to be clever necessarily, but it does have to be unique.

Part of establishing and elevating your brand is showing (not telling) your tribe what their experience with you will be like. Apple is a brilliant example of this. Their TV spots literally “show don’t tell” you what you’ll experience when you purchase one of their products. Set to catchy tunes with barely any voice over, after just thirty seconds you come away thinking, “I want one of those (iPhones, iPads, iPods) – it looks like so much fun.”

One of the hardest things to do in marketing is to say a lot with a little. It’s the real trick of branding. Empty words are like empty calories, they just take up space and make you look puffy. Boil it down to it’s essence and then push it out there in as many places as you can. Do your best to stay away from language that pretty much anyone and their brother could use with the same drab, meaningless tone. Above all, don’t be afraid to be uniquely you. If you’re quirky and you know it, be quirky. It has much more brand power than being a clone.

 

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B is for Brand

What is a Brand anyway?

sdfgThese days, a lot of us throw ‘brand’ around like it’s some kind of magic word. Half the time, I swear people aren’t speaking the same language. Some people use the word ‘brand’ as a synonym for ‘logo.’ Some people use it synonymous with public relations. Others think it’s something to do with their online presence and website.

The truth is, your Brand is your promise and needs to be reflected in all of these things. It’s the experience you offer that is unique. It’s what a customer comes away with when they purchase your product or service. Take Nike. Just do it. What are they getting at here? They want you to get active, get fit, feel good and wear their merchandise while you’re doing it. A lot went into boiling that all down to a cool logo that everyone now refers to as “the swish,” which evokes action, and a potent tag line that inspires action. I’m sure the branding team who developed this sturdy, sustainable brand went through a lot of options before they landed on the winner.

When you think about your Brand, think about what makes you different. Think about how you can succinctly communicate that to your target audience. Think about how you want to be perceived and how you can inspire people to do business with you. But do think about it. And make sure that all your marketing communications point back to, and support, your brand promise.

And — keep it simple (that’s the hard part). Just do it.