Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There is God in the details – in the Brief.

Many companies want some piece of communication- say a brochure, a website or a campaign on their products/services. If we ask them, what is the brief: They would inevitably say…It is like those typical product or service like such and such brand. And cite their competitors’

One agency folk wanted me to write a good baseline for a real estate company who’re revamping their brand with a New Name & Logo…and he says, “It’s like ANY other real estate company – so write on those lines”.

What happens with this kind of work is: We lack focus.

Since the copywriter hasn’t heard verbally what you want, and having no faith if you would accept what the writer suggests, he or she would go on the back foot. The communication gets diluted by eliminating certain thoughts since the doubts in the mind of the writer wouldn’t let them come out.

It IS always good to sit down and jot the things you offer. Or dictate to your secretary and, let them type it up what you had to say. Those WORDS what you voiced would be worth in GOLD.

Those few words would trigger some emotions in the writer, which would prompt him or her to come with some thoughts.

If it’s left to the copywriter he/she would place you somewhere with a positioning based on your product features.

The copywriter with the help of the brief could unearth something worthwhile through some research. And, comes out with the thought and the concept.

If you go to a Saloon and ask the person to give you a hair-cut, he would inevitably ask you, if it should be medium, short or long.

Or, if you go to a high-end designer expert he might ask you several questions on the type of look you wanted and finally decides something for you. It's no different with a copywriter :).

So, take time to write down the brief. Even it can be two words. Or even those words can be very similar to all the words that are used by your competitors, but you need to SAY them in your own words.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

So, hiring a Seasoned Copywriter pinches your profits?

I really don’t understand this logic. Agencies and companies don’t want to spend good amount of money on seasoned and experienced copywriters who have proven skills in writing. They can tell you in one glance if the copy which is written would go well with the brand or not. If the Target Audience (TA) would take it, or scoff at it. Period.

Here is an example – an Ad for an Educational Institution.

Suppose, if you say, “What you Sow is what you Reap” as a‘Headline’ for an educational institute.

Here the Headline is good – with foresight and vision. It says that: “please do keep your child in the right place, so that you can make him or her a bright success”.

This headline goes well to a reasonably good school – which stands in the mid segment catering to middle class target audience.

If you go for an international brand of school where there is so much liberty of thought and expression.

The TA (target audience) are little higher in IQ level and highly educated lot. Whose minds work at a different plane of thought and sensitivity.

Whose sensibilities are very sharp.

They may take this thought a tad ‘crude’.

Know why? They never want to be told what to do.

Sounds weird. But true.

They always wish they should not be pushed. For good.

Who cares for these finer nuances. If a copwriter with a good experience can read the distinction between the Target Group of different stripes and shades.

With all the due respect for young copywriters and their passion – you’ll have your kill. Wait!

So, your investment in hiring ONE good, experienced copywriter to take care of your superlative brands whose Target Audience are very sensitive with sharper sensibilities.

While the younger lot, take care of the other happy-go-lucky brands, who wears their heart on their sleeves and lots of chut patah –fire works - will do the trick. The young blooded copywriters can really do justice to the target audience of these brands who fall in the youngish category of age group.

Here you go, young copywriters!

Seasoned writers bring the occasional glimpses of artistry, enlightenment in their writing. That is what is much looked forward to by certain TG.

So, it’s NO loss for you, if you hire a seasoned copywriter – albeit at a good cost.

For what these folks bring to the table – copious amounts of artistry in writing matured copy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How do you know a Copywriter is worth the SALT?

It is a much talked about and a vexed question these days. I’m grappling with the indifference shown to copywriters who unfortunately hadn’t set foot in the doors of big agencies. Nor, those who never have had an opportunity to work with highly passionate art directors- building eye-pleasing and glitzy portfolio.

I, myself, had the bitter experience of being taken lightly by some agency folks. Years back in one big agency he resorted to even bad mouth small agencies that they spoil the name of advertising. His understanding is that only BIG agencies know what is advertising and how advertising is to be done.

I don’t deny him. Nor, agree with him completely. Everyone has a place in the big and wide world. We all have to start somewhere to reach the pinnacle. We all have to work our way up. Salutations to those who are born prodigies!!

That is what the small agencies, small-time copywriters and artists from small and medium agencies are doing. Don’t denigrate them. For we have no right to deride someone for what he was NOT given ample opportunity for. Agree?

Often, these folks work with NO BRIEFS and clients who HARDLY understand what true branding IS.

We need to see where he or she can go with the given they could showcase to you. The FIRE in their hearts and LIGHT in their eyes.

Not all are equipped to do that. (Those who have the eyes-visionaries - shut themselves up in Ivory Towers away from the realities).

Do we? If so, why there is so much of scrambling for copywriters FROM the BIG agencies?

Consultants ask for big agency experience…and I told one to tell the big agencies that talent is mostly latent. One should have the EYES to SEE it.

I see only that handful few are changing places. Only those handful few. It’s like playing muisical chairs. As if there is NO talent, any more. Other than those few.

A Portfolio for a Copywriter?

Okay. I agree a Copywriter needs a good Portfolio.

Copy gives LIFE by good Art. Otherwise, it dies a silent death (not exactly death though, but goes inconspicuous). What if the copywriter doesn’t have the great fortune of working with a good art director.

Is the Copywriter worthless??

In that case, I don’t see any depth in the COPY of many good Portfolios, where there is excellent execution of art and, no suitably meaningful or thoughtful COPY. That CAN really touch the reader.

So, the point I’m driving here is: Copywriter’s worth should be in the THOUGHT generated. In the way, he or she SPINS the THOUGHT with those simple words.

A thought is given beauty by the choice of words. The force and energy, the words trigger in.

Is someone listening… if so… pls…give them their DUE.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Corporate Branding - shouldn’t be this boring!

It’s sickening each time when a Corporate Branding Campaign is being done, brand managers and clients will only harp on those few worn-out and lifeless words: quality, innovation, transparency etc. (sorry, to start off on a such negative note!)

I came across several instances of this kind. I finally resigned my fight. And did the inevitable.

That’s fine with me- we can use them sparingly. Or, if you can believe in your guts, you can simply ignore those words. Not everyone has the guts, you see :).

I request you to sit back and think: How many times are we reading or listening those three or four damn words (quality, innovation, value-addition etc etc). Do we really believe in them? Let’s ask this question: Do they bring in us (readers) any emotion? I bet our answers would be – Not really.

Know the reason? They are over-used. Became a STAPLE DIET of CB.

So why should we, time and again, boil down to those words.

Clients do insist them to be used – but we should use them sparingly and try to say something in a different tangent which creates an EMOTION in the reader’s mind that we’re speaking the TRUTH.

We use them because we THINK that is the ONLY way we CAN say.

Tell a STORY.

And we (the brand) can be believed.

There you go – the BRAND has made its day. One person acknowledges with his heart and mind that we speak the TRUTH. One person who’s fully convinced will spread the good about us. BINGO!