Monthly Archives: June 2014

What sticks in your mind? The Gloucestershire Copywriter, grapefruit and the Eifel Tower…

Attending Growing Gloucestershire 2014 recently, I was reminded of the importance of using engaging examples to create word pictures and bring stories to life whenever we communicate – using media, or face-to-face.  It’s amazing how a simple example can turn an ‘okay’ communication into a highly memorable one.

Ben Taylor’s presentation at Growing Gloucestershire 2014

My observation coincided with starting to read Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, and in particular their definition of SUCCESs principles that make ideas stick in our minds. What stood out for me at Growing Gloucestershire was the presentation by Ben Taylor, Assistant Group Chief Executive of Gloucestershire-based metrology (measurement) specialists Renishaw plc.

Made to Stick book

And it does!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed Ben’s talk and learned lots about Renishaw’s philosophy and products. If truth be told, it wasn’t the greatest presentation from a technical point of view. But what the talk occasionally lacked there, it made up for with fascinating content, Ben’s enthusiasm and the memorability of several word pictures that he painted to illustrate important points. I loved it.

The Eifel Tower and the grapefruit

In particular, there’s the image of the Eifel Tower and a grapefruit that Ben left in my mind as he explained the 0.08 arcsec accuracy of Renishaw’s metrology equipment. On the face of it, that sounds pretty accurate, but how much more engaging it was when Ben explained that  this meant an angular measurement accuracy equivalent to describing an arc with the diameter of a grapefruit on the side of Paris’s most famous monument at 289 miles/465 Km – the distance, as the crow flies, from where we were sitting in Gloucestershire to Paris.

Got it! (And I can’t stop thinking about this, and by association, Renishaw plc.)

As I captured Ben's idea in my notes...

As I captured Ben’s idea in my notes…

SUCCESs

Let’s jump back to Made to Stick and the SUCCESs acronym proposed by the Heath brothers to encompass all the principles required of a ‘sticky’ idea:

S = SIMPLICITY
U = UNEXPECTEDNESS
C = CONCRETENESSC = CREDIBILITY
E = EMOTIONS
S = STORIES

Thinking back to Ben’s talk at Growing Gloucestershire, it’s clear why the image of grapefruit and La Tour Eifel has stuck so firmly in my mind.

The importance of word images in communication

The takeaway from this, and from Made to Stick, is that carefully considered imagery, whether by word of mouth, graphically, or in copy, really can make a strong and lasting impression on the recipients of the communication. Even better if each method of delivery is supported by the others (hint Ben, a picture of M. Eifel’s engineering triumph next time please). That’s why creative collaborations between copywriter and designer/website designer are usually so much more impactful than dropping copy into a ‘designed’ brochure or website.

Tell me about the stickiest idea you’ve encountered recently

So, what’s the stickiest idea that you’ve run into recently? The one that’s still playing on your mind, reminding you of an event or a business, or inspiring you? Feel free to comment below and tell me.

 

PS: If you didn’t make Growing Gloucestershire this year, make sure to come along in 2015.

 

Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Gloucestershire Copywriter’s tip if you want small-business offices near M5 J13…

This week’s post is an unashamed plug for another of our local Gloucestershire businesses – and proof that when you set out to help someone else you can end up getting valuable and unexpected benefits. Want to know what happened when I called in on Russell Warner at Westend Office Suites at Stonehouse near Stroud, Gloucestershire? There could be something in it for you too, so please read on!

I heard about Westend Office Suites at the WinBiz networking group

I’d already spoken to Russell briefly  a couple of times at the WinBiz networking group (alternate Thursday mornings at Egypt Mill, Nailsworth) and was keen to understand his objectives for Westend Office Suites.

West end Office Suites: perfect for copywriters, consultants or small artisan busionesses

Russell Warner: owner of Westend Office Suites, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I called in – between meetings with potential new copywriting clients – on a glorious Friday. It was a perfect day to see the beautifully converted farm buildings to best advantage. Sitting outside after looking around some of the suites, Rus explained his transition from corporate accountant to office-suite proprietor. As well as being impressed by the quality of the accommodation, I liked his philosophy of building a close and mutually supportive community on the site, his generous approach to parking spaces and his competitive rates. Like me and my copywriting rates, Russell has pitched sensibly and his approach is paying off.

An interesting mix of small businesses

His current tenants include an interesting spread of specialist businesses and even an up-market wedding cake maker (sadly, no samples while I was there!). Although Russell won’t be taking on certain kinds of businesses (for instance, call centres just wouldn’t fit in with the vibe at Westend), he’s still got capacity for accountants, web designers, other creatives and artisan businesses. If I was planning to expand and create a small multi-person writing agency with office premises, I’d be in like a flash. As it happens, I’m not, because one of my grounding principles was not to employ and not to sub-contract – I do everything for my clients and they love the personal service. I’m a Cheltenham-based home-office copywriter through and through!

Westend Office Suites

A wonderful blend of meticulously converted agricultural buildings and a carefully selected mix of complementary tenants…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valuable suggestions for any business networker

As we sat outside and talked, it was fascinating to learn about Russell’s background in accountancy, his plans for Westend Office Suites and his business philosophies. Then, quite unexpectedly, he made a couple of valuable suggestions to help me promote myself at networking meetings – they could apply to anyone offering relatively intangible services such as copywriting, editing, proof-reading or similar.

Westend Office Suites

Impressive offices next to creativity-inspiring meadows and lots of extra-large parking spaces too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advice for anyone offering intangible services

What Rus suggested was the importance of bringing along satisfied clients to our networking meetings as guests (as I write this I recall that I have done this, for instance, when Richard Gill of Quantuvis, for whom I’ve done client case study copywriting,  attended WinBiz a few weeks ago – but I need to do it more). My guest meets new contacts, the networking group gets to hear how I helped the client – in their words – and the group meets a possible new member. It all makes perfect sense, as did Russell’s suggestion that I use more before-and-after examples of my work and the benefits it has brought clients. All good stuff and it was really helpful to get an objective external perspective. Thank you again Rus.

Looking for small-business offices in Gloucestershire?

So what’s the takeaway here? Well, apart from those tips for promoting intangible services, my big message is that if you are actively looking for, or considering, rented office accommodation in the Stonehouse, Stroud, Gloucestershire area (minutes from M5 Junction 13) you really should put Westend Office Suites on your shortlist and talk to Russell.

FSB networking and mini-hog roast on 8 July 2014

In the meantime, how about signing up for the forthcoming networking meeting and mini-hog roast that Cotswold Branch of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) is holding at Westend Office Suites on Tuesday 8 July 2014 from18.30. You can sign up at Eventbrite and non-members are welcome – Russell’s existing tenants will be there too.

If you want office accommodation near M5 Junction 13 in Gloucestershire, contact Russell at Westend Office Suites. But if you want help getting vital copywriting off your to-do list, please contact me about my business copywriting services.

 

Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.