Category Archives: Secret Sauce

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

Inspired, or rather uninspired by the use of the world ‘solution’ in a brand name or tagline, the thought came around what other words should be given the big miss. Without too much trouble, superior, excellence, committed, unique.There’s two good reasons to steer well clear of such terms. They mean nothing – and, in actual … Continue reading ‘Solution’ is not the solution – even if it sounds like it should be

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

Show me someone who knows it all – and I’ll get them to run for god. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view) no one knows everything. No writer, no matter how intelligent, can know the ins and outs of a particular industry or sector. No business person, in spite of a depth … Continue reading Collaborative message making means you can make 1 + 1 = 3

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

Or, why your tagline needs to nail your company’s promise If your company name doesn’t indicate what you do, then the tagline, sometimes known as a slogan, is especially important. It needs to be distinctive and different; and that’s what makes it valuable. That’s because it is the start of your conversation with your customer. … Continue reading Would you start a story by giving it a misleading headline?

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

The problem with many messages, from taglines to web home pages, is they try to say too much. Instead of presenting one clear argument, a proof, of what’s on offer, you get mixed messages. For our relatively straight-forward minds, which are always attempting to sift and categorise information, this is really confusing. Indeed, such is … Continue reading Why your message can only have one central truth

This is a blog, business and belief in better messaging. It is predicated on one main premise – we’re all selling something. Therefore, the messages, the stories, we tell about our products and services, matter. Why? In today’s instant and digital world, we have limited time to capture and hold people’s’ attention. We move on, … Continue reading Why your messages that matter, matter