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Here’s my theory: In life, things can be one-beat, two-beat or three-beat funny. And you have to pick the right number of beats for your message, audience, and how long you have their attention for.
When Dominic Cummings, chief aide to the Prime Minister, posted job ads on his blog recently, it caused quite a stir.
We do like a writing geek out. (If we didn’t, we’d have to think about putting our name out to tender.) And we don’t discriminate. Ads, road signs, mum’s to-do list – if it gets us talking, it’s going in our bank of favourites.
Religion and politics. Not just the two things you don’t talk about at the dinner table, but also two things that most brands have steered clear of in the past. Or, if they did go there, they’d stick to gentle jibes or statements so general they couldn’t offend anyone.
We’ve been thinking about ‘storytelling’. It’s an idea you hear about a lot, but if we’re all going to use the S word, it makes sense to be clear on what it means. Here are three distinct types of storytelling, for a start.
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Nowadays, our beloved books too often play second fiddle to a binge on Prime or a Killing Eve marathon. Here’s a reason for us to ditch The Crown and cosy up with a good old fashioned novel this evening.
Remember the days of buying cinema tickets over the phone? Wasted minutes bellowing ‘Jumanji… JU-MAN-JI’ into your landline as the disembodied voice on the other end says ‘Sorry, I didn’t get that. Did you say Batman Forever?’ Thankfully, voice assistants have come a long way since then.
Consulting Writing Training Customer experience
Microsoft has announced that Word is getting an injection of Artificial Intelligence. And if the comments on the BBC article are anything to go by, we should all be worried.
Gossamer. The UK’s third favourite word, as of 21st September 1980. How do I know that? Well, a while back I bought a copy of The King’s English for 50p at a secondhand bookshop and today, out fluttered a newspaper cutting. And it was all about words. Beautiful words.
“Good afternoon, you have reached Any Bank customer service. How may I be of assistance?” You’ve probably heard that greeting, or something like it, a hundred times. Now compare this: “Hi, and thanks for calling Any Bank. My name is Bob. How can I help you?” I know which person I’d rather speak to.
Training Customer experience
Most of the time. Maybe. But what if you only do business through words? Words on your website. On your apps. And in the customer service messages you send. Then, the only way anyone can take action is if your words are clear and quick to grasp. That’s why we’ve been saying for years that...
Brand & marketing
Chances are you might be eyeing up a smart speaker in the Black Friday sales. YouGov have said one in ten people now have a speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home in their pad, up from one in 20 last year.
Consulting Training Customer experience
Doctors and the healthcare industry have unique problems with the way they communicate. Medical terms and words can feel like a foreign language. (Sometimes what’s written literally is, with Latin origins that aren’t generally in use.)
Writing Training Customer experience
It’s hard to get a feel for tone when you’re reading off a screen It’s easy for an email to be misconstrued. We don’t have the luxury of facial expressions or seeing someone’s mannerisms, and can’t always pick up on the way they’re saying it.
Training HR & internal comms
Personalised letters, tick. Approved list of empathetic phrases (including ‘I’d love to help you with that today’), tick. Think you’ve got this emotional connection malarkey nailed? Not quite.
Writing Training Customer experience
On a recent train journey, I was sat behind a jovial group of tech bods. They were talking about their ‘elevator pitch’...
Training Writing Customer experience
Writing Consulting Brand & marketing
My running buddy’s a doctor. And while pounding the pavements, she’s given me a few tips on how to get to the point. Because sometimes, it can be a question of life or death.
Writing Customer experience
‘I see where you’re coming from, but…’ ‘He’s a nice guy, but…’ ‘We’re really sorry, but…’ But undoes all the words before it Sat in one of many business-y corporate conferences a few years back, our marketing director shared six words that really stuck with me
Writing Training Brand & marketing