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