Category Archives: Metaphor

Far too often, as if they’ve pulled terms from a cliche-word-generator, an organisation’s first most important message is meaningless. Their 2-10 word opening story – as a value proposition, slogan, tagline – fails. It fizzles instead of flying, is a three cent mess, rather than being a Million Dollar Message. And instead of inspiring more … Continue reading The seven words your value proposition, slogan or tagline should NEVER have

As a value proposition ‘Ours not mine’ is a pretty emotionally powerful set of three words. Its Million Dollar Message is self-evident. So hats off to the national organisation which also has a great tagline in ‘Giving nature a voice’. The poster lines a design company’s window display I regularly walk past. It may be … Continue reading Forest & Bird nail a value proposition with ‘Ours not mine’

Do all the political parties have a random cliche slogan generator to create their key message? After all, this is their value proposition. Or, is the brief to be so bland that people are bored into voting for them? Even ‘at least the election has got more interesting’ Jacinda Ardern has not taken the opportunity … Continue reading Are these the most boring political slogans ever?

Have a look at the pix of a billboard on Wellington’s Adelaide Road. Now, I walk past this most mornings, and have the comparative luxury of enough time to figure out what it is trying to say. It took me a couple of goes, and a bit of time to do so. But pity the … Continue reading Petrol saving ad, too clever by half

If we’re being persuasive with our messages, we must make it easy for our readers. One of the keys to this is making your idea, or whatever it is that you’re selling, easy to picture. No matter how abstract your concept, unless someone can see it concretely in their mind’s eye, you’ll never get them … Continue reading A picture (in the mind) is worth much more than a thousand words

A recent Quartz article compares The Economist magazine’s style book for writing to Bloomberg’s. Across a lot of differences – including one major one on how much you should ‘interfere’ (my term) with or edit a writer’s words – the style books both agree on one thing. That is, that  George Orwell’s six timeless rules … Continue reading Orwell’s right…but persuasive messages take more than just good writing

Look at the following picture outside Trade Aid’s central Wellington shop. Then check its tagline (which indeed is the first thing you see) Hand made change Three words that combine to make a distinctive, different and desirable message. Not only does it reflect the change that Trade Aid is helping to bring to under-developed economies, … Continue reading A tagline…nailed

What do you think the billboard pictured below in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is ‘selling’? You certainly can’t tell from its tagline – defined at About.com as “a slogan or phrase that visually conveys the most important product attribute or benefit that the advertiser wishes to convey”. Well, if “Delivering exceptional customer experiences since … Continue reading So, what does CallActive actually do?

Simplicity thrills, complexity kills. And, somewhat paradoxically, the shorter the message, the more effort it takes to refine it to simple. (That’s why an organisation’s tagline – the two to five word description, promise, ‘story’ after its brand name – can be so tricky to distill). But what must a message contain to be considered … Continue reading Why your message has to be simple – and how to make it so

Many people are scared to use metaphors. Sometimes rightly. An over-used, too familiar metaphor is brushed aside and quickly ignored by a reader. But done correctly, a metaphor is like the first sip of a cold beer on a hot summer’s day…hitting the spot perfectly. And don’t think their use is a recent phenomenon necessitated … Continue reading Why you shouldn’t be afraid of metaphors