The global significance of Bristol and Bath’s hi-tech and creative cluster

July 4th, 2014

Wordbrain found itself in the Bath and Bristol area not because I knew there was a cluster of creative and digital industries here but because I liked the idea of living in this part of the world. But it’s become clear over the years that there’s an extraordinary array of hi-tech and creative businesses round here.

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Call that a slogan? It’s a disaster

May 13th, 2014

This just beggars belief. ‘Hardworking Britain Better Off’. Sorry, could you say that again? Actually, please don’t.

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Faceless business-speak just won’t die

April 13th, 2014

You may think the message has got through. Businesses no longer talk to people as they were units. Numbers on a spreadsheet. Mere items. Well, the message still needs repeating. Over and over again.

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The Yes campaign’s secret weapon

February 15th, 2014

It’s occurred to me that the campaign against Scottish independence has had a problem right from the start, and that lies in the wording of the referendum question.

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How distinctive tone of voice can set a brand apart

December 10th, 2013

I’ve been helping a new luxury lifestyle brand to develop its tone of voice and positioning. The website has recently gone live and among other things it includes an article I wrote that redefines what Bath offers visitors – both now and 250 years ago. Read the piece here.

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3 things to remember if you’re marketing to 18 to 24-year-olds

October 28th, 2013

The Youth 100 is a survey of what brands young people like (and dislike) and why. It provides plenty of interesting insights, but three key points stood out for me.

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Beware nouns made from verbs

September 24th, 2013

Shakespeare was great at turning nouns into verbs. He turned the noun ‘dog’ into a beautifully expressive verb: ‘Destruction shall dog them at their heels’. Unfortunately, businesses today like doing the opposite.

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Sell the benefits not the features. Really?

August 30th, 2013

It’s classic marketing advice: tell them about benefits, not just features. Sell them the sizzle, not the steak. Explain what it means to them and their lives, not just what it actually is. But is the classic advice true?

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Top techniques for dealing with a complaint

July 24th, 2013

Negative messages are among the hardest to write. Things like letting people know their delivery is going to arrive late, or responding to a justified complaint. But there are plenty of ways you can make the recipient feel better, and plenty of ways to make them feel worse. Best to stick to the former. Here’s how.

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Negative power words to avoid

June 28th, 2013

A further thought on the dangers of negative messages, as explored in the last blog post. There we were talking about the difference it makes to rephrase a message in a positive way. But there’s more. Certain words have an extra powerful negative impact, and it’s worth sensitising your awareness of them.

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