Entries Tagged 'marketing' ↓

Are Taglines a Things of the Past?

A tagline has always been seen as an important part of your brand’s marketing, regardless of your company’s size.

In a few short well-chosen words, it sums up your brand’s promise, but is it still relevant today?

Just look at some of the biggest companies around like Amazon, Apple, eBay and Google, they don’t rely on taglines, their logo is enough to instil the values they hold dear.

OK, the chances of your business commanding the same kudos in your industry is unlikely (you don’t have their marketing budget for a start), but if they can go tagline-less can you?

More and more companies are moving away from them, but is that because the vast majority of taglines are, well, not to put too finer point on it, bad?

Is there a value in taglines?

Look at is this way, advertising is moving away from selling. Overt sales pitches don’t cut it any more (did they ever?). Consumers want to be wooed; they want to be shown how great their life will become if they buy your product. In other words, your marketing has to be all about them and not about you.

The inclusion of a tagline however, creates a hook that attaches itself to their mind permanently telling them:

  • I’m lovin’ it – McDonalds
  • Just do it – Nike
  • We’re better connected – 02
  • Every little helps – Tesco
  • It gives you wings – Red Bull
  • The make-up of make-up artists – Max Factor
  • 8 out of 10 cats prefer it – Whiskas

A good tagline can permanently cement itself from childhood, who doesn’t remember the Frosties, They’re Grrrrrrreat!

It instantly conveys what your brand stands for and your customers’ attitude towards it.

How to create a winning tagline

Only time will tell if you’ve come up with a cracker, but here are a few tips to try and get you on the right course.

  • Do you want it to reflect your values or your product/service?
  • Does it reflect the emotions and feelings of your customers?
  • Does it gel with your businesses ideology?
  • Use simple language without any jargon
  • Will it date quickly or does it have longevity?
  • Is it memorable?

Ultimately, ask yourself whether it adds value to your brand?

If you’re really struggling to come up with something perhaps it’s worth going to market without one.

In time, as your business grows and you understand it better (and your customers), you can always do a mini rebrand exercise and introduce one.


Why You Shouldn’t Sound Like a Corporate

Does this sound familiar?

“Through our organisational changes we’ll strategically transition towards a more customer centric approach. Going forward, by leveraging KPIs this paradigm shift will cultivate a results orientated environment cultivating workable growth strategies.”


This is the kind of wording corporates love. Their marketers think it makes them sound impressive and worth every penny of their excessive fees.

They’re wrong.

All they’re doing is using a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.

It doesn’t tell their reader anything about them, how they are going to help them or what benefits they will bring.

They will even go to far as to say their clients expect them to write that way.


Do you think anyone wants to read that stuff?

Presenting your marketing in that style makes me (the reader) think that actually you have no idea what you’re talking about. Especially when I ask for clarification and your response is a barrage of alternative marketing terms that also mean nothing.

The problem is that because it’s become so ingrained in the corporate world if you don’t speak it you’re seen as an outsider.

So what happens if you run a small business and have to sell to corporates?

Dare to be different

Most companies try to emulate this incomprehensible style of writing because they think it’s the only way they’ll be taken seriously by their target audience.

Well, I think it’s down to the smaller business to show these behemoths how it should be done.

  • Don’t tell them permanent recruitment is your core competency; tell them you know a lot about permanent recruitment.
  • Don’t start a dialogue with them; talk to them.
  • Don’t tell them how you utilise your resources; show them how you use them.
  • Don’t tell them you have multiple strengths you can leverage; tell them you have lots of great resources that will help them.

Keep it simple

Yes, your marketing must be targeted to your audience, but in relation to the benefits you offer them.

When it comes to language, keeping it simple and conversational will win every time.

By showing empathy and how you’re going to make their life better will be understood no matter how educated your reader is or how high up the ladder they are in their organisation.

They just want to know you understand their problem and have the solution to make it go away.

Just tell them how it is in plain English.



The One Marketing Tip That Will Boost Your Sales

one marketing tip to boost sales


Marketing is a necessary evil when it comes to running a business. It’s one of those things that most people hate, mainly because it takes time. Th problem is, without it you won’t have any customers so it’s a bit of a catch 22.

If you are one of those rare creatures that enjoys it – whether you’re a social media fanatic, blogging hero, content writer extraordinaire, or a wizard at email marketing – there’s one thing you must do in order to get your customers to buy.

Want to know what it is?

Finding out what interests your customers.

That’s it.

You have to know what keeps them awake at night, what pushes their buttons, what they really, really want.

There are probably several things, but in the main their main interest is themselves.

They don’t care about your business, where your premises are, whether you’re the market leader (everyone says that), or a great innovator (yawn), all they want to know is how you are going to help them.

How selfish!

Even though you’ve spent years building up your business, you’ve weathered economic downturns, fluctuations in your market place and umpteen rows at home because of the number of hours you spend at the office, your customers don’t care.

But why should they?

None of that’s going to help them, is it?

The only way they’re going to spend their hard earned cash with you is if you can convince them that their lives will be greatly improved by your product or service.

It’s the exact same reason why you buy things and yet it’s easy to forget that when you’re putting your own marketing materials together.

If you want to sell, forget about your business

When crafting your message, put yourself and your business to the back of your mind.

Every thought you have must centre on your customer.

  • Who are they?
  • What problem do they have?
  • How can you help them?
  • What can you offer them that will solve their problem?

There’s no room for a tempting “we’re the best at what we do” spiel.

The cold hard fact about marketing is that there’s no room for your ego. The only thing that matters is what you can do for your customer. Keep everything you write focused on them and you’ll see your sales increase.


The Triple Threat of Copywriting

The entertainment world is a buzz with the term “triple threat”. It relates to performers that excel in acting, singing and dancing – a very rare breed.

You’re probably wondering what that has to do with copywriting.

Well, if you want to be a great copywriter, you must be able to create content that:

  • Engages
  • Educates
  • Persuades

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Creating interesting copy that people actually want to read that also ticks those three boxes is quite an art.


Writing in an engaging way is tough.

If you think that people will read anything you put out there, you’re in for a nasty shock.

It’s your job to write about the product or service you’re promoting in a way that makes the reader think “Wow, I need that. How have I managed without it all these years?”

A mere description is not going to be enough. You have to create a story around it, showing off its benefits.

OK, yes, this is marketing copy and no one is going to read everything you write word for word, but if you hit the right tone, it will resonate with them and make them stop and think about what you’re selling.

Earlier I mentioned creating a story. Storytelling is one of the most powerful sales tools out there. The story format is used because it engages and draws your reader in. Written in this style it takes on a more interesting light and by adopting a friendly tone of voice your reader will be helpless as they become immersed in what you’re telling them.


There is a big difference between educating and lecturing.

Marketing copy that educates shows the reader how great their life will be if they had the product or service. That means focusing on the benefits not the features.

The colour, shape and size of the product (its features) are not going to make someone buy.

However, show the reader how it will make their life easier, make them richer for more successful, and they’ll buy, buy, buy.

This is where storytelling comes into its own again. Just like fables are told to young children to persuade them about the benefits of good behaviour, storytelling in marketing illustrates what could happen if a buyer acts in a certain way.


Even the strongest stories need a helping hand, which is where persuasion comes in.

Creating writing that persuades is quite an art. You need to employ several techniques to make your writing as powerful as possible, such as:

  • Rhetorical questions
  • Repetition
  • Emotive language
  • Facts and statistics
  • Alliteration

And of course, it should always be written in the second person – i.e. “you” not “we”.

Life would be a whole lot easier it you could just tell someone your widget is the best ever to make him or her buy it, but it doesn’t work that way.

Before you can get your reader to part with their hard earned cash, you have to persuade them that not only is your product or service right for them, but that you are a reputable company they should be doing business with.

On top of the devices listed above, your copy should also include testimonials, evidence of your facts and figures and a guarantee to give extra peace of mind.

Only when you offer all three – engagement, education and persuasion – will your copywriting bring in the sales.


Using Stories in Your Marketing

Stories are powerful.

They help you communicate emotions, concepts and the benefits in a depth that traditional sales writing can never achieve.

I could write for pages now desiccating why stories are so powerful, but I think the best way to show you their power is by showing you an example from one of the masters of storytelling.

John Lewis never fail to hit the spot. Every Christmas the marketing world is on their edge of its seat waiting for the retail giant’s latest advert. Their 2014 effort didn’t disappoint. I’m sure you were sat there with a tear in your eye as you watched the little boy and his penguin:


Why are stories so powerful?

Their power comes from the fact that we’ve grown up with them.

We are predisposed to listen to them, so they are a great way to get your personal brand out there.

If you’re not sure where to start, how about at the beginning?

Think about how you started in business. What’s your story?

This is mine:

After leaving school with a fist full of O and A levels, I didn’t have the belief in myself to go to University so I joined a high street bank on their Management Development Programme. I was there for 7 years before leaving to start a family.

Two children later I began to feel as though I needed more from life than just changing nappies and doing pre-school runs, but I still wanted to be a full time mum. Finally, after a lot of searching I found a home-based job for a charity that I could do during term time. For a couple of years it was great, but part of me still felt unfulfilled. The fact that I’d passed up university nagged me and, at the age of 31, I embarked on a 6 year BA(Hons) degree course in English Language and Literature with the Open University.

After a couple of years trying to study, work and care for my family I realised I couldn’t do it all so I gave up my job. I loved the study (although it was incredibly tough) and began to feel as though I was finally achieving something for myself. Then, one evening we went to a friend’s dinner party. I was sat next to a chap who turned to me and asked what I did. When I told him I was a full time mum and studying for a degree, he looked at me and said, “Oh, you don’t work?” and then turned to talk to the person the other side of him.

It was at that point that I vowed I would do something with my degree when I completed it. A couple of years later I graduated with First Class Honours. Still at a loss as to what I wanted to do, my husband suggested I start something up on my own. It wasn’t something I’d contemplated before, but when a local businessman asked me to do some writing for a web project he was working on, I realised that was what I wanted to do. I set up my first website, taught myself internet marketing and began Briar Copywriting.

That was 7 years ago and I haven’t looked back.


Marketing stories

Stories in your marketing great a buzz. They go further than just showing benefits and adding a call to action; a story helps you make a real connection with your customers, generating awareness of your product or service in a context that they can relate to.

An article in The Guardian looks at the scientific side of story telling. Jennifer Aaker (a marketing professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business) got her students to give a 1-minute pitch. Only 1 in 10 used a story with the others sticking to a more traditional approach with facts and figures. Afterwards, they were asked to write down what they remembered from the pitches:

  • 5% cited a statistic
  • 63% remembered the story

“Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories,” Aaker says. “A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.”

How to use story telling

Here are 5 tips to help you incorporate story telling into your marketing:

  1. Understand your audience – Ask them why they bought from you? What made them look for a solution? How they found your brand? What was their experience of working with you like?
  2. What are their emotional drivers? – Find out what they really care about
  3. Be authentic – Use real life stories from employees, customers and people from your industry
  4. Credibility – Data (facts and figures) combined with stories is very powerful
  5. User-generated content – A great way to explore different perspectives. Run a competition, create a hashtag or interview someone

When you come to create your next marketing piece try story telling and see what difference it makes.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd