Tag Archives: communication

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.

Graphic design and copywriting: a lesson from Rio’s favelas

Rio’s sprawling hillside favelas – shanty towns – are a long way from this Gloucestershire copywriter’s beat. And they might seem a strange place to find a reminder about the importance of graphic design and copywriting working together for the clearest possible communication. But that, indeed, is what I saw on an impressive BBC2 documentary last night.

The Gloucestershire Copywriter loved Welcome to Rio, Part 1 'Peace'

Welcome to Rio on BBC 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was watching Part 1 of BBC’s pre-World Cup documentary series Welcome to Rio. I’m not a massive football fan, but it looked interesting and, having recently spent a couple of days in Brazil, I decided to watch. The programme, which looked at the lives of people living in Rio’s favelas, gave a fascinating insight into the challenges faced by the residents as they survive with pirated electricity, broken white goods salvaged from Rio’s posh districts and inspiration from some of the most stunning dawn views over Copacabana beach and Corcovado.

A few words make things easier for everyone

The Cantagalo residents featured in this observational series included Brazilian ‘Banksey-style’ graffiti artist Acme. In one scene, Acme is communicating his feelings for the enforced dismantling of the favela with an impressive artwork featuring an octopus (the authorities) and a shark (the people). As he finishes the metres-long painting, a police officer asks what it is about, drags out of Acme the notion of oppressed people battling against the establishment, then suggests that a few words might make the idea easier for everyone to understand.

Get your copywriter in early

And there was the lesson. Too often, as a busy Cheltenham copywriter, I get called into a project when the brochure design is complete or a website is nominally ‘finished’. I do my best, but how much better it is for the client when I work alongside their graphic designer or website company from the start to produce a design solution where words and images complement each other and communicate the desired message.

In fact, since returning from South America, I’ve been working with Stroud-based graphic designer Sam Hemmings (Design Fibre) to create a new brochure for retail location specialist Maximise (UK) Ltd. The project was a joy, with a fantastic client and great chemistry between Sam and I as the classic copywriter-designer creative team.

When words and images work together – it’s perfect

Oh yes! As that Rio cop explained to the exceptionally talanted Acme, perfect communication comes when words and design work together. Now, let’s hope that the England team gel as well as Sam and I did when they take to the pitch in next month’s World Cup.

Let’s hope for Gol! Gol! Gol! (as they say in Rio!) And before that, there are two more episodes of Welcome to Rio to watch over the next couple of weeks…

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