Forces Sauces copy project with bluemarlin agency

Respect Deserved: The Creation of a Brand Hero from bluemarlin on Vimeo.

Just been sent a superb short video that explains some of the thinking behind Forces Sauces. It’s a condiment brand I was lucky enough to work on with the Stoll Foundation and bluemarlin this year, helping with tone of voice guidelines, campaign copy and packaging. Have a look to see how choosing a sauce can mean helping others – especially in the run up to Remembrance Day.

 

What’s the ideal length for a blog post?

We get to write copy for many different websites, and online marketing has become a world coloured by metrics and analysis. It’s also a great place to find people hawking solutions, even if the problem is non-existent. This blog post from one LinkedIn influencer came through to us at Modern Copy today. It’s a fantastic piece of information. The answer is exactly what we would hope to hear as writers: there’s no such thing as ideal length, it’s quality that matters.

Three rules of good writing

Rules of good writing should help you with anything, from reports, presentations and website creation all the way through to naming and strategy. Finding the set of rules that work for you is essential.

An item came on the news today as I drove to work. British director Christopher Nolan took just 15 minutes to sell his Batman franchise idea to Warner Bros executives. Even though he’s an established figure, and a safe pair of hands, to take a profitable movie series like Batman and twist it to your own plans – it’s a lot to ask in just a quarter of an hour.

The Radio 4 segment quizzed Christopher Hauge, author of Sell your Story in 60 Seconds, and he underlined two ideas that are worth remembering when you’re writing anything.

1. Keep it simple

2. Use a narrative

It seems like it’s so easy, but is it really? How do you strip out what you don’t need and still keep a narrative fresh and interesting? That’s the skill, and it’s easier with practise. When you’re writing presentations, brand strategies, and especially web copy, you need to tell simple stories that can come alive. I’d add one last piece of advice to the list:

3. Be straight

That means honesty, being unpatronising – and being direct. People sniff out weakness when you break this rule – and that means they don’t trust what you’re saying.

Why better packaging copy counts

The copy on a product is probably the most important thing you can write about it. It’s an advert you get to put up for free. It builds a relationship with the person who’s picked up the box and is still unsure about what’s inside. It gets a crucial chance to provide them with a mood, a connection. Like most writing, you only get a few seconds to make it work and get the reader to commit.

A recent Nielsen study found that most food packaging copy just isn’t cutting it. They polled 25,000 consumers globally and discovered that 59% have trouble understanding the nutritional information and labelling on their food.

Nielsen results of food packaging survey

 

Even worse, when they asked respondents if they believed the claims that products were making on their labels, only 3 out of 10 products were believed by more than 20% of the people.

Better writing, both in terms of accuracy and style, can help overcome these problems. Food packaging in particular is subject to great scrutiny, so many products surrender good style in order to get the facts across. In reality, style plays just as important a part in building trust with the reader. Sincerity in the style of your copy feels good in the mind of the reader, and leads them to trust the facts you’re telling them.