The heart of everything you do

Everything hangs on your messaging and your brand personality. This doesn’t just apply to copywriting.

When I take on a new piece of work I insist on going through the copy brief. Some people are brilliant at it, providing me with exactly the right information, mainly because I ask for exactly the right information. Others aren’t so good, but I still use it as my cue for making sure I cover everything. In PR parlance this is probably called a 360 degree view.

But what a lot of people don’t seem to realise is that the copy brief can apply pretty much everywhere else. Essentially it asks ‘what are you trying to achieve’, ‘who is it for’,’what’s the message’ and ‘what’s the brand personality’. You would ask the same questions if you were a designer. You would ask the same questions if you were creating a website.

I don’t think many people take this on board. An inexperienced client will approach an inexperienced designer saying “We want clean lines and bubbles“, so naturally the designer will produce clean lines and bubbles. Or might say “This won’t take you long to write”, so an inexperienced copywriter is annoyed when it takes three days instead of three hours.

Let’s amplify. Let’s realise that really at the heart of what we do lies exactly the same thing, whether it’s writing, design, PR or advertising. It’s clarification of those four basic principles. It’s the font from which everything flows.

I’m sure I’m over-simplifying here. If only someone would read this blog and tell me.

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2 thoughts on “The heart of everything you do

  1. I’m reading, Friendly Ghost, and I for one think you’re dead right.

    I’m produce web sites for commercial clients and too often they have given little or no thought to whom they are addressing and why. The shocking number of tumbleweed-strewn ghost sites out there are testament to this short term view of the web site as a one-hit wonder.

    If clients begin to think of their sites being more like the broadcast medium they are, instead of the static printed material they surely are not, then we might end up in a place where sites provide a useful dialogue between brands and their publics.

  2. I think the key word there is ‘dialogue’.

    ‘Brand’ appeals to audience segments, and yet audience segments, ever decreasing in size, expressing what they perceive as ‘brand’, is treated by corporates as a threat.

    The emerging situation seems to be ‘real brand’ – that is, what people actually think, and now they are able to express it.

    So where’s the threat to a company? If it really believes what it publicises, there is none. Everything is joined up and accountable.

    It’s where companies say one thing and don’t live it – from CEO downwards, from logo to operating procedures to employee conviction – that they’ll be in trouble.

    This is why any company is really an extension of its founder. This is why Apple is funky, Microsoft is deeply autistic, and HP is so devoid of identity that no one really knows if Mr. Hewlett or Mr. Packard are even still alive. Are they? I honestly do not know, and I’m not even going to search the Internet to find out.

    So let’s hear it for blogs. Let’s hear it from the consumers who really have the power to buy what corporates are saying. Let’s really hear what the corporates have to say back, and judge them on it.

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