tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/copywriting Latest Copywriting content from Econsultancy 2017-05-16T12:42:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69081 2017-05-16T12:42:00+01:00 2017-05-16T12:42:00+01:00 Six ways brand marketers can bring the funny without being cringeworthy Dan Brotzel <p>But it’s an elusive thing, this humour, and until relatively recently, it was shunned by many brands as too risky. Humour is notoriously subjective, it doesn’t always translate, there’s the risk of causing offence, and you look bad when it backfires. Plus it’s hard to pin down why things make us laugh – or even to understand <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theories_of_humor" target="_blank">the theories</a> – let alone learn how to emulate the best humour-makers. </p> <p>But then again, we live today in a post-Innocent, post-Old Spice, post-King of Shaves world. And when even <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1xKpm0nURk" target="_blank">manufacturers of routers</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WLr3hxpYYY" target="_blank">providers of supply chain software</a> are doing the funny, maybe it’s time to look again at upping our own comedy quotient. </p> <p>So here are a few thoughts on what make things funny in marketing, with examples from brands that have personally made me, if not laugh, then at least smile broadly. Humour is notoriously subjective so in a piece like this I can only speak to what tickled me. (And before you dismiss my insights and my sense of humour out of hand, remember I was Asda Christmas Cracker Joke Champion in 2004.)</p> <h3><strong>Key elements of the comedic toolkit</strong></h3> <p>Caveat: Talking about funny is notoriously unfunny: ‘Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it,’ as EB White may have said. So sorry about that. </p> <p>But at least I’m sparing you things like the ‘ontic-epistemic theory of humor’, which asserts that ‘laughter is a reaction to a cognitive impasse, a momentary epistemological difficulty, in which the subject perceives that Social Being itself suddenly appears no longer to be real in any factual or normative sense. When this occurs, material reality, which is always factually true, is the only percept remaining in the mind at such a moment of comic perception.’ Quite so, quite so.  </p> <p>Browsing the different theories of humour, however, several elements come up again and again. </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Identification</strong>: As in ‘That is so true!’ </li> <li> <strong>Surprise / incongruity</strong>: As in ‘Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? Because it was dead’ </li> <li> <strong>Transgression</strong>: A way of saying the unsayable, as in dirty jokes, jokes about cancer, most of Jimmy Carr and all of Frankie Boyle  </li> <li> <strong>Relief</strong>: As when my wife laughs uncontrollably any time I bang my head (and the more it hurts, the funnier she finds it) -- unless of course this is...  </li> <li> <strong>Schadenfreude</strong>: The taking of pleasure in the misfortune of others </li> </ul> <h3><strong>Social observation: McDonald’s </strong></h3> <p>I think this ad would be funny whoever it was done by – or if it was just a comedy sketch without any promotional intent – though it happens to be from McDonald’s. It’s a pee-take of all those self-important hipsterish coffee bars that have taken over our city centres, with all their funny little rituals, indulgent gimmicks, and exorbitant prices. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Kra1eWAiKvE?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Why is it funny?</strong> Identification: it’s just really well observed. It’s a spoof but only just, being full of lovingly created details we can all relate to, from the ping pong table where the seats should be to the obsessive foam-sculpting, to the haplessly hip barista mouthing the absurdly cosmic-sounding Wi-Fi passcode. </p> <h3><strong>Funny parodic: GE </strong></h3> <p>Some of the examples in this post are quite old, and that’s intentional. The only criterion for inclusion is that they made me smile or laugh on first seeing them.</p> <p>But when you sit down and try to think of all the brands that have ever actually made you laugh or smile, there probably aren’t really that many, though we look at stuff that <em>wants</em> to make us smile or laugh all the time. So funny stuff sticks in the memory, like this Pinterest meme that GE launched back in 2013. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6005/GE.png" alt="GE" width="616" height="255.1"></p> <p><strong>Why is it funny?</strong> The GE Hey Girl Pinterest board was obviously leapfrogging on the massive traction enjoyed by the Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling Tumblr. There’s humour in the incongruity of a vast global B2B brand dipping into popular (and implicitly profanity-fuelled) culture with such pitch-perfect ease, and without somehow ceasing to be itself. </p> <p>The sweet spot on which the parody pivots is the idea of sexiness; you sense that GE, always keen to engage consumers and potential recruits, is sincere in its belief that science can be sexy too. Not quite as sexy as Ryan G perhaps, but then what is?</p> <h3><strong>Guilty pleasures: Diet Coke and Cinnabon </strong></h3> <p>‘Disgust,’ said yer man Salvador Dali, ‘is the sentry at the gate beyond which our darkest pleasures lie.’ You don’t have to be Freud (though Freud also said this) to see that one thing the funny does is to allow us to bypass our habitual internal censors and transgress norms in an acceptable way. It allows us to talk about things that in polite society are otherwise only thought. </p> <p><strong>Why is it funny?</strong> Those classic Diet Coke ads – ‘I’m here for my 11.30’ – are funny because we all know that the office, despite being on the surface a hub of serious business purpose, is also often a hotbed of (often unspoken) desire.</p> <p>This ad turns the usual order of things on its head: here we see the erotic impulse trump the corporate imperative, if only briefly, and fantasy is liberated. This is funny because it’s unexpected, but also because everyone’s got the same idea. Desire, usually hidden and private, is here aired and shared. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TdrE1VMxzoE?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Speaking at Comic Con 2015, Carrie Fisher said: ‘What’s so great about [Star Wars] is that I am a part of everyone’s childhood. I don’t necessarily love being part of all your adolescences. That’s kind of gross.’</p> <p>That Princess Leia was a fantasy for males of a certain age is such a well-known thing there’s even a Friends episode about it. So when she died Cinnabon, the cinnamon bun people, saw an opportunity to reprise a bit of clever art work: </p> <p> <img src="http://cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2016/12/27/a9c2ac0c-334d-408b-9309-05fb3d0abfd9/resize/620x/a5dc44013c1008e2d6da82408d05b4d5/cinnabon-carrie-fisher-death-2016-12-28.png" alt="cfbuns" width="616" height="702.9"></p> <p>Before I thought anything else about this ad, I thought it was funny. It’s visually clever, and it taps into a well-recognised cultural phenomenon. It’s a humorous tribute to a famously humorous person.</p> <p>Was it also tacky, ill-timed, inappropriate, opportunistic newsjacking? Certainly lots of people thought so, and after some communal brand-shaming on social media, the post was duly deleted and apologised for. </p> <p>But a lot of other people thought Carrie Fisher – with her famously sardonic humour – would probably have seen the joke and maybe even enjoyed it.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6006/cinnabonreply.png" alt="cinnabonreply" width="616" height="295"></p> <p><strong>Why is it funny?</strong> Because again, it’s transgressive. It’s alluding to erotic fantasy, a very specific guilty pleasure, making the private public once more. And it’s doing this at a time of death too, so tickling another taboo. </p> <p>For things to be really funny in this way, there has to be an element of risk-taking. A sense of humour relies on us also having a sense of non-humour – an understanding of things that aren’t supposed to be laughed at. Transgressive humour – and here I’m more of a Lenny Bruce than a ‘You’re so moneysupermarket!’ man –  dares to play with where we can draw that line. </p> <p>Taking a risk, in short, means entertaining the possibility of a brand fail.   </p> <h3><strong>Comedy with a cause: Unison </strong></h3> <p>Sometimes anger can fuel humour, and done well it can be a powerful way to highlight injustice. Here’s a great example where cause, concept, creative and celeb come together beautifully to make a powerful point about a serious concern.   </p> <p>Claire Sweeney takes up her old 60 Minute Makeover role in a video aimed at highlighting the fact that council cutbacks are forcing carers to cut short their residential visits. Claire gives harassed careworker Nisha just 15 minutes to get Frank, an elderly housebound man, washed, dressed and fed.</p> <p>‘No time for small talk!’ scolds Claire, before insisting with callous breeziness that Nisha gives Frank his breakfast on the loo to claw back some time: ‘two birds, one stone!’  </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pOZ9dWf4L80?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Why is it funny?</strong> The satire is viciously planned and executed – there’s a great match between format and concept to drive home the point that looking after a vulnerable person is exactly <em>not</em> the sort of thing you should have to do against the clock. And our Claire really goes for it. </p> <p>So there’s incongruity here, but also transgression and perhaps eve schadenfreude: we laugh at things we shouldn’t find funny, like the indignities inflicted on Frank and the shortcuts Nisha is forced to make. And we can enjoy the dark humour because we know it’s all coming from a good place. </p> <h3><strong>Laughter in the dark: Spotify </strong></h3> <p>Soviet-era joke: A man puts a pair of shoes in for mending. ‘They’ll be ready two years on Thursday,’ says the cobbler. ‘Morning or afternoon?’ asks the man. ‘What on earth does it matter?!’ says the cobbler. ‘I’ve got the plumber in the afternoon,’ replies the man. </p> <p>There are a lot of such jokes about and by people living through times of great adversity, and humour is an obvious coping mechanism to help reconcile people to an uncomfortable reality. There is more than a hint of this in Spotify’s job ad for a ‘President of Playlists’. </p> <p><strong>Why is it funny?</strong> While on one level this letter is a celebration of Obama’s presidency, and a neat piece of brand alignment with an outgoing leader with soaring approval levels, there is more than a hint of laughter in the dark to savour too, for those uncomfortable about an imminent Trump presidency. </p> <p>Reading between the lines, indeed, the letter could be seen more as a critique of the incoming guy than a commemoration of the outgoing one: ‘As an organisation we are full of hope, and always open to change’… ‘[you’ll] analyse data […] in a clear and transparent manner using all available intelligence. Attend daily briefings […] celebrate our diversity of playlists, from Viva Latino to Rap Caviar… Able to work closely with departments, so playlists can hold up to public scrutiny […] someone with good team spirit, excellent work ethic, a friendly and warm attitude.’ </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6117/spotify.jpg" alt="" width="787" height="1213"></p> <h3><strong>Brave banter: Wendy’s, Paddy Power, Tesco Mobile</strong></h3> <p>Many of the brands that do the funny well on social – Wendy’s, Innocent, Paddy Power etc – seem to have reached a point where they’ve genuinely ceased to think of themselves as a corporate entity and just communicate as individuals – with all their foibles and flaws (and even their F words), but also all their unique humour.   </p> <p>Paddy Power is a great example of this. It has cornered the market in banter, and just comes across as that funny mate you always watch the game with down the pub. </p> <p><strong>Why is this funny?</strong> Being banter, every line is a challenge asking for a response, making this a truly social form of social media. See here, for example, how a nice crack about Ozil (which even as an Arsenal fan I can appreciate) leads to a couple of sharp rebounds:   </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5993/Paddypower.PNG" alt="PaddyPower" width="616" height="522"></p> <p>And there’s no room for compromise or for worrying about causing offence with this approach. Not everyone will like it, but that’s marketing for you, and that’s also why a banner like this will be extra funny to those that do enjoy it: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8331/Screen_Shot_2015-10-23_at_13.36.05.png" alt="" width="616" height="222.3"></p> <p>(This reminds me. Motorcycle News, I think it was, once ran an ad with a picture of a nun chained by her ankles to a huge motorbike, and chained by her wrists to another huge bike, each revved and ready to fly off in opposite directions. The heading ran something like this: ‘Subscribe to MCN now or the nun gets it..’) </p> <p>In these times of populist, adversarial politics, Wendy’s seemed to have hit the Zeistpot with its uniquely rude approach to social media, which involves (among other things) trolling the likes of McDonald’s:  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5994/Wendys.PNG" alt="Wendys" width="616" height="351"></p> <p><strong>Why is it funny?</strong> The idea of trolling McDonalds is funny in itself, of course, and even funnier when it’s the spectacle of one corporate giant going up against another like a couple of kids in a playground. (Or rather only one is really playing, it seems; the only one doesn’t quite seem to know how to respond.) </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5997/Wendysbeef.PNG" alt="Wendysbeef" width="616" height="356.4"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5998/Wendysbeef2.PNG" alt="Wendysbeef2" width="616" height="261.5"></p> <p>There are several big brands doing a great job of humorously bantering their way through social conversations too, among them O2, Sainsburys, Argos and Tesco Mobile: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6004/Tescomob.png" alt="Tesco" width="616" height="951.8"></p> <p>The people running these accounts are often great copywriters, witty, quick-thinking and adaptable. But above all, it seems to be me, they’ve been empowered to just get on with being their own funny selves.  </p> <p><em><strong>For more on this topic, book yourself onto one of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/copywriting">Econsultancy’s copywriting training courses</a>, or check out these related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice/"><em>Four brands with a brilliantly funny tone of voice</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67102-the-dangerous-art-of-using-humour-in-marketing/"><em>The dangerous art of using humour in marketing</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68989 2017-04-18T13:00:00+01:00 2017-04-18T13:00:00+01:00 Three ways language can affect conversion rates on travel sites Nikki Gilliland <p>According to Unbounce, however, this can massively impact conversion rates. In a <a href="https://unbounce.com/conversion-rate-optimization/unbounce-conversion-benchmark-report/" target="_blank">recent report</a>, it suggests that if just 1% of a page’s copy subconsciously reminds visitors of feelings of anger or fear, it could lower conversion rates by up to 25%.</p> <p>With this in mind, here are just three ways travel brands can do the reverse, and use language to increase the chances of a booking.</p> <h4>Think positive</h4> <p>Unbounce’s study uses an 'emotion lexicon' to determine whether words associated with certain emotions affect overall conversion rates. </p> <p>It found that words associated with anger and fear tend to have a big impact, with these particular emotions putting off consumers from finalising a booking.</p> <p>So, what kind of words would a travel brand have to use to evoke anger? Surprisingly, it’s not the most obvious, and consumers might not even recognise that their response is negative. Words like ‘limited’ or ‘rail’ are said to subconsciously raise negative emotions in consumers, even when linked to unrelated experiences.</p> <p>The answer is simple - always use language that evokes positivity. It’s trickier than it sounds, of course, with most travel brands falling into the cliché trap.</p> <p>While its service speaks for itself (cue jeers), Southern Railways is a particularly bad example. Of course, it plays more of a functional role in the lives of consumers as opposed to the inspirational, yet its use of language does nothing to instil positivity in users.</p> <p>From ‘accessibility statement’ to ‘compensation’ – not to mention the glaring ‘major disruption’ – its homepage is littered with words that are both negative and corporate-sounding. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5404/Southern.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="705"></p> <p>In contrast, regional railway C2C puts a positive spin on local engineering works, using a friendly “we’re open” to reassure travellers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5405/C2C.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="579"></p> <h4>Keep it short</h4> <p>While it’s tempting to wax lyrical about destinations, travel brands tend to do best when landing pages are short and concise. </p> <p>Copy must always serve a purpose, and never be used to fill up space. Again, with travel typically being associated with inspiration and excitement, it’s easy to get caught up in superfluous language.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68505-a-closer-look-at-booking-com-s-customer-focused-strategy/">Booking.com</a> is a great example of copy that is both functional and inspirational. As well as pointing users towards various locations, it still manages to evoke the benefits of travel such as relaxation and beautiful scenery.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5424/Booking.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="599"></p> <p>Meanwhile, other brands like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68225-10-examples-of-great-airbnb-marketing-creative/" target="_blank">Airbnb</a> use visuals to tell a story, resulting in a minimal design and copy that is succinct and easy to digest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5403/Airbnb.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="722"></p> <h4>Evoke confidence</h4> <p>Lastly, Unbounce highlights how trust-inducing language can be an effective tool for travel brands, mainly stemming from consumer concerns over the legitimacy of low-price offers and deals.</p> <p>It found that dedicating at least 10% of copy to establishing trust could result in conversion rates that are up to 20% better.</p> <p>Words such as ‘share’, ‘friendly’ and ‘recommend’ are particularly good for building confidence, tapping into the notion of travelling as a social experience, and reassuring users that help and advice will be on hand every step of the way.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68201-how-hostelworld-uses-video-to-connect-with-target-audience-of-young-travellers/" target="_blank">HostelWorld</a> is a great example of this, using reassuring language to position itself as the perfect way to have an authentic travel experience. It recognises common consumer concerns, such as the safety of hostels and associated booking costs, and directly addresses them.</p> <p>The word ‘help’ and the phrase ‘helping you’ is consistently used to reassure and instil confidence. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5402/HostelWorld.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="626"></p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65007-how-the-travel-industry-uses-email-marketing/">How the travel industry uses email marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65347-10-essential-features-for-mobile-travel-sites/">10 essential features for mobile travel sites</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67766-10-examples-of-great-travel-marketing-campaigns/">10 examples of great travel marketing campaigns</a></em></li> </ul> <p><strong><em>For more on CRO, download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/" target="_blank">Conversion Rate Optimization Report</a> here.</em></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3193 2017-03-21T11:57:12+00:00 2017-03-21T11:57:12+00:00 Online Copywriting <p>Boost your online copy’s effectiveness (across all types of device) with our practical and hands-on training course.  </p> <p>Our best-selling ‘online copywriting’ course includes lots of hands-on exercises to help you communicate, persuade and sell more effectively.  We’ll show you copywriting techniques that can boost your web pages’ performance by over 100%.</p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">No laptop is required.  For convenience, all exercises will be paper-based.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3192 2017-03-21T11:56:21+00:00 2017-03-21T11:56:21+00:00 Online Copywriting <p>Boost your online copy’s effectiveness (across all types of device) with our practical and hands-on training course.  </p> <p>Our best-selling ‘online copywriting’ course includes lots of hands-on exercises to help you communicate, persuade and sell more effectively.  We’ll show you copywriting techniques that can boost your web pages’ performance by over 100%.</p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">No laptop is required.  For convenience, all exercises will be paper-based.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3191 2017-03-21T11:55:12+00:00 2017-03-21T11:55:12+00:00 Online Copywriting <p>Boost your online copy’s effectiveness (across all types of device) with our practical and hands-on training course.  </p> <p>Our best-selling ‘online copywriting’ course includes lots of hands-on exercises to help you communicate, persuade and sell more effectively.  We’ll show you copywriting techniques that can boost your web pages’ performance by over 100%.</p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">No laptop is required.  For convenience, all exercises will be paper-based.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68881 2017-03-13T14:38:17+00:00 2017-03-13T14:38:17+00:00 Dodgy testimonials might get your agency's AdWords account suspended Ben Davis <p>In a sense, this is nothing new - Google has had <a href="https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6020955?hl=en-GB">guidelines</a> in place about misrepresentation for some time and AdWords community managers have posted <a href="https://www.en.advertisercommunity.com/t5/Articles/Site-Not-Working-Disapproval-amp-How-to-Fix-It/ba-p/555663">updates about their enforcement</a>.</p> <p>However, the issue was in the spotlight last week, thanks to a tweet from Joel Klettke, who was surprised to see an agency's AdWords account suspended, something he has 'never seen' before.</p> <p>Given that Klettke works as a copywriter on landing pages, amongst other content (including for <a href="http://casestudybuddy.com/">Case Study Buddy</a>), it's perhaps worthy of note that this is his first experience of a Google suspension for misrepresentation. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">An agency's Adwords account got suspended because their landing pages had case studies/testimonials on them. Never seen anything like this. <a href="https://t.co/qF1jyA9dY1">pic.twitter.com/qF1jyA9dY1</a></p> — Joel K (@JoelKlettke) <a href="https://twitter.com/JoelKlettke/status/839617078759849984">March 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>As you can see from the text in Google's response to Klettke, the main points of contention when it comes to misrepresentation are that:</p> <ul> <li>testimonials with claims attached need disclaimers</li> <li>no claims of exact results should be present outside testimonials unless linked to a peer-reviewed journal</li> <li>any claim that is general needs a disclaimer</li> </ul> <p>Furthermore, and fairly obviously, no guarantees or claims of permanent results are permitted.</p> <p>The tweet caused surprise for a few, with @lakey suggesting that enforcement could lead to rather absurd or unnecessary disclaimers.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/herrhuld">@herrhuld</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/stephenkeable">@stephenkeable</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/LordManley">@LordManley</a> Are we to expect this kind of thing... <a href="https://t.co/l6mdsUENI0">pic.twitter.com/l6mdsUENI0</a></p> — Chris Lake (@lakey) <a href="https://twitter.com/lakey/status/839785306756952064">March 9, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Whilst Google's own examples of where these guidelines apply are consumer-facing, such as for weight loss treatments, anyone with knowledge of the martech industry knows that testimonials and cases studies abound. </p> <p>That means companies need to be careful when making claims about the impact of their services. For case studies claiming an uplift in sales, for example, this means a simple asterisk and some copy indicating results may vary, often found within terms and conditions.</p> <p>However, if a company is making general claims on a landing page, perhaps arising out of specific case studies, a definitive study needs to be referenced. Klettke's experience comes as a welcome reminder to agencies and martech companies to get their landing pages in order.</p> <p>Consumer watchdogs are having to catchup with malpractice such as quiet renewals and surcharges, and last year the UK Government announced its intention to <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/fake-online-reviews-could-be-made-illegal/">crack down on fake reviews</a>. There's no reason why this burgeoning focus on transparency shouldn't be taken very seriously in martech.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68748 2017-01-30T09:37:36+00:00 2017-01-30T09:37:36+00:00 What makes an effective brand slogan? Nikki Gilliland <p>The change is incredibly subtle, but it got me thinking about what happens when a brand decides to alter such a familiar and intrinsic part of its own identity. </p> <p>Similarly, what makes the most enduring slogans so successful? Let’s start with a few basics.</p> <h3>What is the aim of a slogan?</h3> <p>If a logo is the visual representation of a brand, a slogan or tagline is what truly brings it to life. </p> <p>In short, it is a key phrase or set of words that communicates the essence of a brand, and one that is designed to stick in the minds of consumers.</p> <h3>Key features of a winning slogan</h3> <h4>It is succinct</h4> <p>The most enduring brand slogans are often short, catchy and easy to remember. Much like a song chorus that gets stuck in your head, it needs to have a rhythm or sound that rolls off the tongue and is instantly recognisable. </p> <p>When a slogan is put to music or used as part of a jingle, this is often when it really resonates. "I’d rather have a bowl of Coco Pops," is a fine example.</p> <h4>It provides incentive</h4> <p>Effective slogans also highlight what’s beneficial about a product or service, prompting consumers to buy into the brand. </p> <p>Furthermore, it’s vital that it evokes or instils a positive feeling or incentive. For instance, something like “It’s good to talk” from BT (British Telecom) – while outdated in today’s context – brings to life the simple pleasure and emotional undertones of picking up the telephone to call a loved one.</p> <h4>It differentiates</h4> <p>Lastly, a slogan is often a good opportunity for a brand to tell consumers why it is different or unique. </p> <p>Marks &amp; Spencer’s most famous tagline is from its “Not just any food” campaign, which paid homage to the brand’s reputation for high quality.</p> <p>The fact that people continue to associate the phrase with the brand, even since it has stopped using it, shows how long a well-crafted slogan can endure.</p> <h3>Eight examples of effective slogans</h3> <p>Here are a few of my favourites, along with what I think makes them so effective. </p> <h4>L’Oreal: Because you’re worth it</h4> <p>A slogan that's been in use since the 1970s, L'Oreal celebrates (and justifies) the very concept of buying make-up.</p> <p>While it has been tweaked in recent years along with the brand’s efforts to become more inclusive – changing to ‘we’re worth it’ - it remains one of the most well-known phrases in the beauty industry.</p> <h4>Subway: Eat fresh</h4> <p>It's been suggested that three words is the magic formula for an effective slogan. Think "I'm lovin' it" or "Finger lickin' good". However, Subway manages to convey its core message in just two.</p> <p>Sure, it might sound a bit crass, but its confident and straight-to-the-point message tells consumers all they need to know about its freshly made sandwiches.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3422/subway.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="457"></p> <h4>HSBC: The world’s local bank</h4> <p>Proving that brands don't need to follow the rules, this oxymoron from HSBC has one main aim and that is to instil trust.</p> <p>Reassuring customers that, despite being a global corporation, it has the values of a local bank - it's a clever play on words.</p> <h4>Nike: Just do it</h4> <p>Nike’s slogan is built on the notion that anyone can achieve greatness. Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, the simple call to ‘just do it’ is both uplifting and inspiring – two hallmarks of Nike’s wider brand values.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">You made Hayward home.<br>You lifted each other up in London.<br>You realized dreams in Rio.<br>You won the world over.<br>Together.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/justdoit?src=hash">#justdoit</a> <a href="https://t.co/HKIRW13QIL">pic.twitter.com/HKIRW13QIL</a></p> — Nike (@Nike) <a href="https://twitter.com/Nike/status/818977771112103936">11 January 2017</a> </blockquote> <h4>Dollar Shave Club: Shave time. Shave Money</h4> <p>Puns are tricky to pull off, especially when they’re silly or childish as opposed to clever. For some reason, however, I think this example works simply because it’s so unapologetic.</p> <p>It fits in well with Dollar Shave Club’s witty and self-deprecating style of advertising, perfectly summing up the brand’s money saving appeal.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3423/Dollar_Shave_Club.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="427"></p> <h4>Tesco: Every little helps</h4> <p>Re-affirming its stance on value and customer service, Tesco's slogan is subtle. It's not just about money of course, but everything that Tesco offers (from its insurance to its Metro stores) that helps customers.</p> <p>It's also an incredibly comforting turn of phrase, which reassures consumers that it is a supermarket that cares.</p> <h4>Mr Kipling: Exceedingly good cakes</h4> <p>Encapsulating the character of Mr Kipling, this simple but self-explanatory phrase manages to elevate a simple fairy cake into something extra special. A bit like the aforementioned M&amp;S example, it's quite boastful, but charmingly so.</p> <p>With Mr Kipling reintroducing the slogan in a bit to boost sales, it proves that familiarity and nostalgia can often contribute to why certain slogans work.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M2XYJJHdIEo?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h4>Ronseal: It does exactly what it says on the tin</h4> <p>Finally, Ronseal is a great example of a slogan that goes beyond a brand to enter into our everyday vernacular.</p> <p>While the no-nonsense statement first aimed to reassure customers that DIY doesn't have to be complicated, it now stands for transparency in all senses, and the reassurance that there is no hidden agenda or underlying meaning. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68697 2017-01-12T14:10:00+00:00 2017-01-12T14:10:00+00:00 Four food brands with delicious copywriting Nikki Gilliland <p>Due to the trend for an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67874-the-rise-of-the-artisanal-tone-of-voice-among-brand-marketers/" target="_blank">artisanal tone of voice</a>, many brands stray into dangerous territory – using cheeky and cheerful copy that comes off as annoying at best, patronising at worst. </p> <p>However, there are some that manage to steer clear of this, delivering spot-on copy that brings food to life.</p> <p>Here are just a few of my favourite examples.</p> <h3>Lurpak</h3> <p>Lurpak is well-known for its drool-inducing visuals, but it’s also worth a mention for using copy that convinces customers it’s the only butter brand worth buying. </p> <p>In fact, with its slogan of ‘good food deserves Lurpak’ – it aims to persuade you that you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by using any other kind.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2986/Lurpak_Story.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="404"></p> <p>Its brand voice is distinctive, using short sentences and an almost boastful tone to sell itself.</p> <p>However, by simultaneously empowering consumers with the idea that anyone can achieve great cooking, it manages to avoid sounding off-putting.</p> <p>I think this style of copy works particularly well on social media, where one-liners (often paired with imagery) are engaging and effective.</p> <p>Examples like “stop scrolling and start kneading” and “good food deserves Lurpak” gets straight to the point, aligning well with the brand’s aim of being the facilitator of a delicious food experience.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Filo like making your own pastry? Screens off, ovens on! Just be sure to Choux-se us <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GameOnCooks?src=hash">#GameOnCooks</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GBBO?src=hash">#GBBO</a> <a href="https://t.co/vM47UNOO18">pic.twitter.com/vM47UNOO18</a></p> — Lurpak (@Lurpak) <a href="https://twitter.com/Lurpak/status/778684508132421632">September 21, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Gail's Bakery</h3> <p>It's pretty hard to describe bread, resulting in many brands resorting to the words 'freshly baked' far too often.</p> <p>London-based Gail's Bakery, however, uses contextual-based copy to engage consumers.</p> <p>In its bakeries, instead of using the aforementioned slogan, it describes 'wooden spoons' and 'floury fingers' to highlight the fact that everything is fresh from the oven.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2987/Gails.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="497"></p> <p>Meanwhile, it uses unashamedly descriptive copy in menus and throughout its website, designed to conjure up that familiar taste and smell.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2985/Gails2.JPG" alt="" width="527" height="549"></p> <h3>Yeo Valley</h3> <p>Most yoghurt brands would have us believe that men are allergic to their products – how else would you explain the female-centric, feminine style of advertising that most use?</p> <p>Yeo Valley, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air in this department.</p> <p>While it arguably strays into ‘wackaging’ – using quirky and overly-friendly copy - I think it manages to stay on the right side of upbeat and endearing most of the time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2978/Yeo_Valley_copy.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="680"></p> <p>I particularly like how it replaces ‘yo’ with ‘yeo’ wherever possible on its website.</p> <p>It’s a simple (and slightly childish) touch, but it gives the brand consistent personality.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2977/Yeo_Valley.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="486"></p> <h3>Ben and Jerry’s</h3> <p>Food can be subjective, which makes taste rather difficult to describe. </p> <p>Over-emphasising flavours and ingredients can also leave consumers feeling overwhelmed, which is why I particularly like Ben &amp; Jerry’s creative approach.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2980/Ben___Jerrys_Frozen.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="538"></p> <p>Think about mint choc chip ice cream and how you might describe it for just a moment, and then read the below product description.</p> <blockquote> <p>This cool concoction packs quite the peppermint punch…but what you’ve really gotta watch out for are those gooey, chocolatey, fudgey brownies nestled in the tub.</p> </blockquote> <p>Everyone knows what mint choc chip ice cream tastes like, so by using a personal tone to evoke the experience of actually eating it, Ben &amp; Jerry’s makes its product sound all the more enticing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2979/Ben___Jerrys.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="371"></p> <p><em><strong>To improve your copywriting skills, check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/" target="_blank">online copywriting</a> training course.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Related reading:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68177-eight-drool-worthy-restaurant-websites/" target="_blank">Eight drool-worthy restaurant websites</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67856-four-delicious-examples-of-food-drink-brands-on-instagram/" target="_blank">Four delicious examples of food &amp; drink brands on Instagram</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68672 2017-01-05T13:50:27+00:00 2017-01-05T13:50:27+00:00 Four ways to optimise mobile copywriting for a superior UX Nikki Gilliland <p>Copywriting is undoubtedly a big part of the mobile experience - so how can brands get their message across on smaller devices? Here are four tips.</p> <p>And if you want to improve your <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting">copywriting</a> or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/mobile/">mobile</a> knowledge, check out Econsultancy's training courses.</p> <h3>Consider the user context</h3> <p>Effective mobile copy does not just consider the user - i.e. who the person is or what they know about the brand or company – it also considers the context that they are in. This means where they are, what device they are using and even their state of mind.</p> <p>For example, a train booking site like Trainline knows that mobile users are less likely to want to book in advance. If they are using a smartphone, they probably want tickets in real-time. </p> <p>As we can see below, the desktop experience is largely geared around advance savings, whereas the mobile site is stripped back to focus on the current booking.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2720/Trainline_desktop.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="405"></p> <p>This is reflected in the copy, with the latter asking direct questions such as “where are you starting?” in place of “enter your origin station”, prompting the user to take direct action while on-the-go.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2721/trainline.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="637"></p> <h3>Favour usability over tone</h3> <p>While a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand" target="_blank">strong tone of voice</a> is effective for engaging users, it’s far more important to consider usability on mobile.</p> <p>Short and compelling copy can help to counteract a limited word count and users with a <a href="http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/" target="_blank">shorter attention span</a>. If copy merely clutters the page instead of aiding the user journey – it should be cut.</p> <p>That being said, the fewer the words, the more impactful they should be. Sites that combine a strong tone with concise calls-to-action tend to be the most effective. </p> <p>Pocket, the online service that allows you to save interesting articles and websites for later, is a great example of how to inject maximum information into the minimum amount of words.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2722/Pocket.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="612"></p> <p>Granted, its mobile site isn’t that different to desktop, but its succinct style is clearly designed with smaller devices and screens in mind.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2723/Pocket_2.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="626"></p> <h3>Consider the user journey</h3> <p>As well as the physical or emotional context of the user, effective copywriting factors in where the user wants to go in their online journey.</p> <p>This means including relevant links and prompts for navigation. Moreover, it also means ensuring that the copy is consistent throughout, even including things like error messages.</p> <p>Often, this type of copy can be left to designers who will be more inclined to use language or phrases that are unfamiliar or jarring to the general public. This has the potential to disrupt the user journey, and even have a detrimental effect on conversion rates.</p> <p>Including links within error messages is a great way to combat this, just like this simple but effective prompt for username recovery from MailChimp.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2724/MailChimp.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="624"></p> <h3>Update the golden triangle</h3> <p>The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Triangle_(Internet_Marketing)">'golden triangle'</a> is a rule of thumb referring to the fact that users focus on the top left hand of the screen when reading on desktop. More recently, however, it has been suggested that this does not apply to mobile users.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.briggsby.com/how-do-users-interact-with-serps-on-mobile-devices/" target="_blank">study by Briggsby</a> shows that instead of attention being solely focused on the upper left, users take more of the screen into consideration, mainly due to the quick and short scrolling action required on smartphones.</p> <p>Research found that 86% of attention is given to the top two-thirds of the screen, while it drops significantly at the bottom.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2728/Brigssby.JPG" alt="" width="580" height="414"></p> <p>When it comes to copy, it’s important to take this into consideration. Placing the most important information at the top or centre of the screen helps reduce bounce rate and ensures the user's attention is maintained. </p> <p>Though it isn't a perfect example of mobile design, Curry’s mobile site packs the most important information at the top. </p> <p>Currently, it is displaying its January sales at the top of the page, separating everything into categories in anticipation of the user's needs.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2725/Currys.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="629"></p> <p>Unlike a lot of mobile sites, it does not require huge amounts of scrolling either, instead including a comprehensive side menu to guide the user onwards. </p> <p>The pros and cons of the hamburger menu are debated in greater detail <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68673-five-apps-websites-that-ditched-the-hamburger-menu/">in a separate post by Ben Davis</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2732/Currys_2.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="612"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68658 2017-01-03T14:34:00+00:00 2017-01-03T14:34:00+00:00 Why more brands should write like The Economist Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a bit of expansion on what I found interesting and the reasons why brands of all kinds should take heed.</p> <h3>Simplicity doesn't mean ‘dumbing down’</h3> <p>The first topic up for discussion was how businesses and brands can instantly improve their use of language.</p> <p>The general consensus seemed to be that, instead of thinking about the writing itself, the first step is to consider the person reading it.</p> <p>It’s a simple tactic, but certainly one that finance-related brands in particular fail to execute, with many using unnecessary jargon or complicated language to convey the message instead.</p> <p>Of course, there is the argument that the language used is a by-product of a complicated industry (like banking or technology, for example), and that making it any simpler would be a case of dumbing down.</p> <p>But on the contrary, I think it is the smartest approach. Often the most successful companies are the ones that speak in the simplest and least-complex terms. And as well as engaging and attracting consumers in the first place, this can also lead to a superior customer experience.</p> <p>Experian is a great example of a brand that uses clear and concise copy to aid the user journey.</p> <p>It is designed to be as simple as possible, replacing standard words and sentences with conversational phrases to help users understand better. Even its login form is designed with this in mind, giving the user a subtle nudge in case they've forgotten their username.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2596/Experian.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="614"></p> <h3>Avoid the ‘curse of knowledge’</h3> <p>The ‘curse of knowledge’ is a term used to describe when an individual unknowingly assumes that the people they are communicating with have a certain level of understanding on a given topic.</p> <p>Often, this is the reason behind unnecessarily complex copy.</p> <p>One thing that The Economist does is make its writing as tight and succinct as possible, often cutting down first drafts to avoid arguably redundant words like ‘top’ and ‘very’. By writing in this way, it ensures that a naïve reader is more likely to understand it, as well as someone with an existing amount of knowledge.</p> <p>Online investment management company, Nutmeg, also uses language to convey a sense of clarity and transparency.</p> <p>Instead of explaining what it can offer the consumer, it steps into their shoes, highlighting the questions they are likely to have and providing answers in a straightforward way.</p> <p>What's more, it does not try to hide potential pitfalls (such as the questions of the user doing it themselves) but deliberately points them out - something that the user will instinctively appreciate.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2597/Nutmeg_common_questions.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="309"></p> <p>Below is a great example of how Nutmeg deliberately avoids the ‘curse of knowledge’. Instead of assuming that the reader knows what diversification means, it provides the definition at the beginning of the sentence. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2598/Nutmeg.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="278"></p> <h3>Write like you speak</h3> <p>Finally, onto the question of how and why brands often misjudge their <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand/">tone of voice</a>.</p> <p>Speaking about language bugbears, Robert gave the example of airline companies placing a heavy stress on verbs when communicating with passengers, e.g. “Unfortunately, ladies and gents, we <em>ARE</em> experiencing a delay. This means we <em>WILL</em> be remaining here for the time being.” </p> <p>This type of thing doesn’t just happen when words are spoken out loud. One of my own bugbears is how brands attempt to reach a younger demographic by using certain slang words or phrases they <em>think will </em>resonate.</p> <p>Of course, this can be incredibly effective for brands that are built around a very specific tone of voice (and target a certain age bracket). Fashion brands like Missguided and ASOS, for example, use colloquialisms to reach a millennial audience – and they do it well. </p> <p>However, there are a lot of brands, again often financial, that sound superficial when they alter or change their tone of voice to try and reach a younger audience. It often comes across as cringy rather than cool.</p> <p>Alternatively, the best examples are brands that do not dumb down or try to be edgy, but ones that aim to be direct and relevant.</p> <p>Barclays is a good example, often discussing topics like student finance and graduating without being patronising or pretending to be cool. Its LifeSkills series – designed to help youngsters get the skills they need to succeed after school and university – is particularly good. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2599/Barclays.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="350"></p> <p>As well as being customer-centric, asking users exactly who they are and what they want from the service, it is engaging and conversational whilst being informative at the same time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2600/Barclays_2.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="411"></p> <p><em><strong>If you'd like to improve your skills in this area, check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/" target="_blank">Online Copywriting</a> training course.</strong></em></p>