Ever been at a function, say a BBQ, and asked someone what they do…their story business-wise? Some people come back with, “well, we do lots of things.” Immediately you begin to switch off. That person has irretrievably lost their best chance to pique your interest. They’ve frittered their golden opportunity for you to ask “tell me … Continue reading Why you can only tell one story (at a time)

Recently I had the privilege of presenting ‘storytelling 101’, and the importance of your first story,  to New Zealand’s first cohort through the PopUp Business School Aotearoa. Fifty people signed up for the Porirua two-week intensive, lead by the irrepressible Tony Henderson-Newport, who brought across and Kiwified a British initiative started back in 2012. His … Continue reading A schooled up reminder of getting your first most important story right

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?

Never, ever, believe anyone who says that creating a tagline or slogan or positioning statement is easy. It can’t be since it is a massive challenge to condense your message to a succinct 2 – 10 words that express your heart and soul and value proposition. Crafting a what, how and why proclamation takes mental … Continue reading PledgeMe starts its story (tagline) perfectly

Mevo, a pay-by-the-hour electric car startup (though pretty well-funded) based in Wellington’s Biz Dojo, has excellent messaging – I can’t fault it. Its message starts with its name – Mevo. This looks both novel and familiar – and is in fact the word move, with the ‘e’ and ‘o’ reversed…hence Mevo. In eight words it … Continue reading ‘Own the journey, not the machine’ – Mevo’s message hits all the right buttons

The billboard I walk past often first got me interested when The Good Taste Company’s dips, endorsed by chef Michael van de Elzen, used the term “My great tasting dips are good from scratch”. Originally, it was the ‘good from scratch component that took my fancy Good from scratch is very close to, though obviously different to … Continue reading Good Taste cook themselves a million dollar message

But a process is a boring explain, and in the spirit of a picture being worth a thousand words, Punchline’s created a new explanatory diagram. As seen above, it outlines the process of unearthing a message essence for proposals, presentations, campaigns, copy and taglines. The message arrow, seen below, was put together by Punchline’s collaborative … Continue reading For message making process, a picture is worth a 1000 words

Now advertising agencies are good at imagination and creation, at mocking-up and perfecting collateral associated with a brand. But, and at the risk of being hung out to dry, those skills don’t cross-credit for your first, most important story – (or tagline). These two to 10 words are a real challenge to uncover no matter … Continue reading Why ad agencies are terrible at taglines