Monday 28 March 2011

So you think you can design a logo?

It takes a rare skill to graphically boil down the ethos of an organisation – consider some of the finest attempts

Deutsche BankHow many logos have you seen today? Perhaps you maintain a lofty disdain for such things, but logos are unavoidable and, in their own way, quite remarkable. With a few lines, a good logo can articulate the aims of a charity or symbolise a city.
Deutsche Bank. Designer: Anton Stankowski, 1974 Logos today get a pretty bad press: "How much? My 12-year-old could have done that." Often, that's true, sort of. Take the Deutsche Bank logo. Created in 1974 by artist and designer Anton Stankowski, it consists of a blue box with an oblique line inside: that's it. And yet it represents a multibillion-pound business. Any self-respecting pre-teen with a ruler and a felt tip could have made a decent stab at it, a fact not lost on German newspaper Bild Zeitung which, at the time of the logo's launch, wrote a disbelieving story headlined "Artist gets 100,000 Marks for five lines" (he didn't get that much, by the way).
And yet such graphic devices can attain enormous power. So what makes a successful one? Simplicity helps. The Deutsche Bank square is neat visual shorthand for the type of values you might want in a bank security (the square) and growth (the oblique line) – hopefully of your savings and not just the employees' bonuses. But its real power comes from repetition. A line in a box could represent any bank, but repeat it often enough (with a few million in marketing spend behind it) and it comes to be associated with just one.
Woolmark Woolmark. Officially designed by Francesco Saroglia but often credited to Franco Grignani, 1964 A bit of visual trickery works too. Take the Woolmark, the Op Art-inspired skein devised for the International Wool Secretariat in 1964. It's a beautiful, timeless symbol abstracted just enough. Or, also from 1964, the British Rail logo, known variously as "the crows' feet", "the barbed wire" or "the arrows of indecision". It replaced the old "ferret and dartboard" crest that had been in use since 1956, sweeping away pseudo-heraldic flummery with a bold modernism that promised a new "Age of the Train".
Logos can also be friendly, lovable even. Bibendum, aka the Michelin Man, first appeared in 1898. Legend has it that the Michelin brothers, Edward and André, were visiting the Lyon Universal Exhibition in 1894 when Edward noticed a pile of tyres on the company stand and declared "with arms, it would make a man". Compared with the grinning character that we are accustomed to, early versions depict an almost sinister figure, bespectacled and chomping permanently on a cigar. For a while, he was even known as the "road drunkard".
The Michelin Man Michelin. Designer: O’Galop (Marius Rossillon), 1898 Few logos today match the charm of a Bibendum or the simplicity of a Woolmark. Overcomplicated and overdesigned, they are the victims of endless research and managerial dithering, setting costs spiralling. But to take the ethos of an organisation and successfully boil it down into a simple mark takes rare skill. Think of the WWF Panda, the London Underground roundel or the Rolling Stones tongue. Logos carry the can for capitalism's excesses but can also be adored elements of our visual culture.
All those mentioned above feature in Creative Review's 20 favourite logos chosen for our current issue. What would be on your list?

Article By: Patrick Burgoyne,

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Saturday 26 March 2011

Digital Marketing Guide: How Do I Increase My Twitter Following?

How Do I Increase My Twitter Following?

It's important to remember that chasing numbers can be futile, since even those with envied Twitter followings may not have as many followers as the numbers indicate they do.

Even so, the first thing many people do when they hear of a name, a company or a brand is search for it on Google and Twitter, so there are benefits to a robust following, especially if they are organic and engaged.

1. Tweet about stuff you know and love. Your passion and expertise will show and people will recognize it.

2. Make sure your Twitter account name reflects who you are and what you do. For those whose name isn't a brand in its own right, pick one that's short and to the point. When third generation NYC journalist Jonathan Mandell decided to tweet about theater, he picked @newyorktheater.

3. Related to No. 2, make sure you fill out the bio that shows up under your account name. In case your name is your account name, put your city and description.

4. Follow people. Yes, some of them will follow you back and many won't, but to participate in the Twitter economy, follow. This goes for individuals and companies.

5. Read other people's tweets and ask questions, clarifications and followups. If you're a company, take the complaints offline -- but take them for sure.

6. Unless you're @nytimes or @cnn, don't just hose us with links to your stuff. Throw in observations, funny things you see during the day. Go ahead and break the unofficial rule and tweet what you're having for lunch once in a while. Because someone's going to say they also had a $5 footlong. And that someone could be your next big client.

7. Don't link and run. Even when you post links to your work and intersperse them with links to things you find interesting, stick around for the discussion. Attend to everyone who messages you and especially those who @ you. People remember if they didn't get a response.

8. Tweet consistently. Nothing is more depressing than looking up an account with one tweet from 2010 and two from 2009. Total. (Hi, @redlobster.) Hire someone!

9. If you hire someone to tweet for you or your brand, make sure you trust them. Because if you trust them, they'll be able to have a personality.

10. Remember the Murphy's Law of Twitter is (thanks to @kevinmarks) that being retweeted gets you more followers, but tweeting loses them. So be sure to say things that get retweeted!

By: Irina Slutsky

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Tuesday 22 March 2011

What to Do When Your Client Is Ignoring Reality

Curt Hanke
Curt Hanke

How to Diagnose and Cure Brand Grandiosity

It's an ongoing war, really. A daily cage match that never ends. And it's going on within each of us -- every man, woman and child -- each and every day. Social psychology tells us that there are two fundamental human needs engaged in this epic, ongoing conflict. In one corner, we find Reality -- the need for each of us to see the world as it actually is, to accurately and rationally understand and engage with "the facts" as best we can discern them through our own unique perspective. In the other corner, Self-Promotion -- the need for each of us to see ourselves in a good light, as "right and knowledgeable," to protect our identity and sense of well-being, which are rooted in our deep-seated sense of survival.
Thus, the title card reads: Reality vs. Self-Promotion. Doing battle every day, in every situation, constantly fighting for control over the way we look at the world.
Now, while I could certainly ruminate on the implications of this inner turmoil for us as individuals walking the earth together, my topic for this column is actually what this tug-of-war often means for us in defining our premises -- and building solutions -- with and for our clients.

The Big Problem

By and large, almost any client, in any category, thinks about his or her brand more in a single week than the average consumer will in a year -- or perhaps an entire lifetime, for that matter. So whether we're talking toothpaste, apparel or even motorcycles, it's understandable how difficult it is for our clients to see the proverbial forest for the trees.
This, in turn, leads to the big problem. Given that our clients eat, breathe, live and even sleep their brands -- and because their job description and paycheck require that they champion their brands -- it can often lead to them cheering themselves into a stilted version of reality. One in which self-promotion pummels reality with more than a few haymakers. A situation that we refer to as "Brand Grandiosity."
So whether we're working with a category leader or a startup, this battle often leads to a flawed -- and overly inflated -- sense of consumer perceptions. "Everyone loves us!" "We're known as the up-and-comer!" "We are a dominant brand in that market!" (This, from a brand with single-digit market share and unaided awareness in the teens.)
In quantifying Brand Grandiosity, we often find that clients have anywhere between a doubled to quintupled inflation of their brand's awareness -- this, even with research numbers in front of them. ("I don't believe this research!") And when it comes to brand perceptions, it can be even worse with a wildly overblown sense of their brand's performance on a wide range of attributes.
So in the context of the psychological struggle painted above, self-promotion is kicking reality's metaphorical butt.

The Challenges of Brand Grandiosity

In many ways, I admire Brand Grandiosity. After all, clients work hard every day, finding white spaces, mining for opportunities, and chasing victory for their brands. With this passion -- this very literal "self-promotion" -- it is very understandable how this can lead to an inaccurate sense of their brand's "reality."
That said, it certainly presents challenges. If you think your brand is perceived (or known) better than it is, this will have serious implications on every part of your marketing and brand strategy. Investment framework. Competitive frame of reference. Positioning levers. Sales activity. Customer service. Brand substantiation. Bottom line, the way we fundamentally define our brand's problems (and opportunities) will have a significant impact on the solutions that we develop. And if we're starting in the wrong place, the odds that we will end up in the right one are, quite frankly, not great.

How to Cure Brand Grandiosity

As with almost anything, acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step. As an external partner, part of the role of an agency must always be providing the wide-angle lens for our clients. To help call BS when necessary. Or to at least poke, prod and encourage that together we continue to look at the marketplace with fresh (and accurate) eyes.
Now, this isn't always easy. As Mark Twain once said, "Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty." Nevertheless, at minimum, our responsibility is to initiate a conversation.
Obviously, research is often a vital prescription. For clients who are unwilling to invest in qualitative or quantitative insights -- and when we are fairly certain that Brand Grandiosity is taking place -- we will go so far as to "bet" our fees on the research outcomes. Meaning that if after the research is complete, there is not a consensus on a case of Brand Grandiosity, we'll write off all of our time. In 10 years, this is a bet we've never lost.
Last, when you just can't find a way to make formal research happen, roll up your sleeves and hit the pavement. Pick up the phone. Visit with consumers and prospects where they live. Dig deep into the myriad issues facing your brand. While this method is far from perfect, spending time in the marketplace will always provide a new way of looking at the situation.
Brand Grandiosity comes from a good place -- true passion and advocacy on behalf of a client's cause. But it can also be a significant barrier to creating a brighter reality for a brand. As such, being ever vigilant is critical, because as we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Curt Hanke is the co-founder and account director of Shine, a 32-person advertising and interactive agency headquartered in Madison, WI, serving clients such as Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Carver Yachts, Wisconsin Cheese, Kaplan and Winston Fly Rods.

Monday 21 March 2011

Building Brands Online white paper

Building Brands Online white paper, Interactive Branding: Best Practices in a Direct Response Driven Media

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Friday 18 March 2011

Non-Profits: Get Your Free Web Marketing Plan, Courtesy of Bing, Deep Focus, Twitter and Facebook

Social Hackathon Teaser from Deep Focus on Vimeo.

Most non-profits can't afford to big brand-name agency and media consultants, but now they can at least benefit from their insights, for free.
Digital shop Deep Focus spearheaded a "hackathon" last month in San Francisco to help the charity, but rather than keep all that useful information secret, they're releasing it on the web to help other charities address mounting tech-related challenges.

The result: an e-book titled "The Goodness Engine: Driving Greater Social Impact in the Digital World," which contains tips for any nonprofit and for-profit companies interested in using the kind of state-of-the-art strategies dreamed up by the 40 participants including execs from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Altimeter Group, WebTrends, O'Reilly Radar and, well, Cheezburger Network.
Deep Focus client Microsoft sponsored the effort through Bing and Hotmail.
Christian Borges, VP-social media communications at Deep Focus, said the information that resulted from the hackathon is extremely valuable, but it was important that it be made available for free.
"It's really about aggregating all of that info and that experience packaging it in a way that's compelling and relevant and putting it out there for free consumption," Mr. Borges said "It's putting our dollars and money where our mouth is and leading by example. Hopefully more organizations can do the same."

Download the Ebook  

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Facebook “Likes” More Profitable Than Tweets [STUDY]

If event registration site Eventbrite’s experience is any indication, social media marketers looking for monetary returns on their efforts might get more value from Facebook than Twitter.

The company announced Wednesday that an average tweet about an event drove 80 cents in ticket sales during the past six months, whereas an average Facebook Like drove $1.34.

The study, which used in-house social analytics tools to track ticket sales on the site, was a continuation of a similar analysis the company released in October after analyzing data from a 12-week period. That study also indicated Facebook drove more sales for Eventbrite than Twitter, although the difference between the two networks’ sales per post was greater at that point than throughout the entire six-month period (the “value” of tweets increased).

In addition to each individual Facebook Like driving more sales than an individual tweet, the study also revealed cumulative activity on Facebook was greater than activity on Twitter for Eventbrite. People shared Eventbrite events on Facebook almost four times as often as they did on Twitter. The company attributes this disparity to Facebook’s wider reach and greater emphasis on real-world ties.
It’s important to note that only a very small percentage of site visitors shared event pages on either network. Just 1% of people who landed on an event page shared it with their friends; 10% of people who had purchased a ticket did the same.

Obviously people are more likely to share events if they are attending. Their friends, according to Eventbrite’s data, are also more likely to buy tickets to an event shared on Facebook by a ticket holder than one shared by an uncommitted friend. Whether these trends, or any of Eventbrite’s findings, are relevant to other types of purchases is still a matter of speculation. But Eventbrite is betting they are.
“We carefully track sharing behavior in an effort to help event organizers tap into a new world of distribution for their event promotion,” wrote Tamara Mendelsohn, Eventbrite’s director of marketing and former senior analyst at Forrester Research, in a blog post about the study. “But the findings apply broadly to all e-commerce businesses, because the foundations of e-commerce are shifting as the social graph becomes a meaningful influence in driving transactions.”

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Image courtesy of iStockphoto, imagedepotpro
by Sarah Kessler

QR Codes: Game Changer or Passing Fad?

Have you seen one of these anywhere lately? If you have and wondered what it was, it's called a QR code and it could quite possibly be one of those game-changer technologies that you'd be far better off understanding now rather than later.
QR is short for Quick Response, which is exactly what these puppies give you. Insert one in an ad, on a direct mailer, or even a simple sign in the middle of a park, and you give a consumer instant access to any kind of information that can be stored digitally on the Internet.
Like most things in technology today, there are competing formats, but that's not what I want to discuss. Instead, what I'd like to discuss (you'll have to add your two cents in the comments area) is whether or not this is "real" or just another shiny thing.
I've been experimenting with this technology quite a bit over the last year and in each and every case, I find the results impressive. Thus, in my opinion, I think QR is a game changer.

QR codes make everything interactive. I've placed them on clothing, in direct-mail packages and of course on advertisements and banners. In each and every case, those QR codes gave consumers (or new-business targets) the opportunity to go deeper and learn more via microsites, video and audio. Now a magazine or newspaper ad -- even a printed book -- can be interactive rather than passive.
In their new book, The Now Revolution, authors Jay Baer and Amber Naslund include 22 QR codes that link the reader to video of a person discussed in the book, charts and graphs for download, and more. By including the QR codes (actually they used MS codes -- the Microsoft variety of QR), they gave readers additional information that in most cases could not be included in the book and it made reading their book a highly interactive experience. In fact, if you'd like to see QR codes in action, I'll send one of you a copy of their book. Just scan the QR code above. (If you don't have a QR scanning app, I suggest ScanLife. It's what I use and works very well. We'll call this my interactive learning gift to you. OK?)

QR codes can be easily customized. QR codes can point consumers to mobile-friendly, customized microsites where the consumer can receive unique information that is highly relevant at a specific point in the purchase process. For example, have you bought a TV at BestBuy lately? If you had, you might have noticed that next to each TV is a QR code that links you to consumer reviews of that set. It totally changes the buying process and the role of the sales associate.

QR codes are inherently trackable. You can view how many scans, where those scans came from, even what type of phone scanned the code. Hmmmm, wouldn't that be interesting when you're debating whether or not you need to build an iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry app or maybe you just need an iPhone app? And if you are a destination brand, how valuable would it be to understand where (as in geographic location) people are located when they scan your ad in that big national magazine? Might that aid you in localizing your marketing? Or maybe you'd like to link that original scan to a local (in market) scan so that you can definitively say X number of folks saw your ads and then visited the market within Y days? All of this is possible with a simple QR code.
In my opinion, QR codes are anything but a shiny object, they are nothing short of revolutionary technology that in time will be commonplace here.
But as I said, that's my opinion. What do you think?

3 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Social Media To Drive Customer Loyalty

The Social Media PyramidCustomer loyalty is at the heart of every business, both large and small. One common industry statistic that is referenced time and again is that it is five times more profitable to spend marketing dollars to keep your best customers rather than acquiring new ones. Small businesses get this equation in spades.
A Harvard Business Review study demonstrated that recovering only five percent of abandoning customers could increase profitability by 30 to 85 percent.
Recently, Marchex asked several hundred small businesses in a customer survey what was most important, and “keeping existing customers” was on top (46%) followed by “getting new customers” (26%).
The importance of customer loyalty isn’t a new concept for small businesses, but understanding what loyalty means in this digital age is a new imperative.
Small businesses have to understand how quickly consumers are shifting their conversations and other social actions to the online world. The adoption of social sites such as Foursquare, Yelp, Citysearch, Twitter, Facebook and blogs is growing at a rapid rate.

Turn Customers Into Your Best Advertising

Soaring usage of social media is creating an interesting dynamic in the marketplace by creating a dramatic shift in power to the customer. No longer does a loyal customer simply represent a repeat purchase or occasional referral business. Customers now have the ability to broadcast sentiment about the businesses they visit and services they use to thousands of people instantly.
This means loyal customers are a small business’s de facto marketing department. Due to the emergence and adoption of social media, customers now have the ability to generate new business, craft a brand image, and inspire loyalty through tweeting, blogging, reviewing, following, and so forth. Given a small business’ limited time and resources, this can be a highly valuable asset if managed appropriately.
Maintaining good relationships with customers has reached a whole new level of importance in the digital age. A small business’ loyal customers will generate “online word of mouth” with positive reviews, mentions, and by broadcasting a visit on Foursquare.
With very little effort and access to the appropriate digital tools, loyal customers can be mobilized to ignite referrals, generate positive air cover, shift opinions, and help soften the impact of bad reviews.
So, what should a small business owner or operator do to manage the complexity of customer loyalty in an online social world? First, take a deep breath, relax, and then start participating.
Here are three suggestions to get the social ball rolling:

1.  Listen To The Conversation

A small business can’t truly understand how to engage customers—especially their best customers—if they don’t know what their customers care about. Review sites, blogs and other social channels are a goldmine of valuable information. Customers now have the platform to tell a business exactly what to do to succeed, but first the business needs to hear and make sense out of all the chatter.
Effectively monitoring the chatter means scouring the online landscape for relevant dialogue and that can be time consuming. However, there are several online products like Marchex Reputation Management, which can aggregate customer conversations across the Internet and make it available all in one place with simple, yet invaluable insights and analysis.

2.  Get Social

Once comfortable observing and understanding what customers are saying online, small businesses should dip their own toes in social media. Like it or not, small businesses need to be on the same social sites their customers use.
Social is not nearly as scary as one might think. In fact, after opening a Twitter account, Facebook page, Foursquare and Groupon memberships, small business owners may in fact discover that social is a lot of fun!

3.  Engage Customers

Lastly, it is important to actively participate and communicate with customers (e.g., respond to a bad review, broadcast or thank a customer for a good one, ask for reviews and more). This is a great opportunity to engage the best customers who are active online by getting them to do more.
This could include things such as rewarding them for referrals or sending them bits of interesting information they can broadcast like new menu items, upcoming sales and holiday discounts.
However, communicating with customers can be challenging given the limited time and resources of a small business. Many will inevitably find that effectively managing social media and the dialogue with customers takes some time and a little trial and error. And, that’s okay!
There are affordable online products and services emerging, both self-serve or managed, that aggregate and simplify the engagement process for small businesses. These products are quickly becoming an essential addition to a small business’ marketing toolkit.

The bottom line: Like it or not, online conversations are happening and continue to increase in volume. The good news is that this trend presents small businesses with a fantastic opportunity to listen to, learn from, and engage with their customers on a scale never before possible. It’s a brand new way to drive customer loyalty.

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Wednesday 16 March 2011

The most reproduced image in the history of photography.

“Shot from below against a light background, the portrait has a raised, Godlike quality. The angle of the shot is particularly crucial, as profiles have little impact and full frontals tend to flatten the features. The direction and intensity of the subject’s gaze is also key. Che is looking past the camera, out to his vision. His line of vision has been much tinkered with by various artists, but it retains its passion even on a table mat or a screensaver.”

– Alison Jackson, photographer and film-maker.

It’s March 5th, 1960, President Fidel Castro has called a memorial service and mass demonstration at Havana’s Colón Cemetery, to honour more than 100 Cubans killed in the suspicious La Coubre explosion the day before.
In attendance is photographer Alberto Korda. Armed with his Leica M2 with 90 mm lens and loaded with Kodak Plus-X pan film, Korda busies himself taking pictures of Cuban dignitaries and famous French existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

Korda's roll of film negatives. Guerrillero Heroico appears on the fourth row down, third picture over (shot horizontally).
At 11:20 am, a major figure of the Cuban Revolution, Ernesto “Che” Guevara surprises everyone by attending the service and, for just a few fleeting seconds, Korda snaps two frames from a distance of about 25–30 feet before the guerrilla leader disappears into the crowd. The first shot has Guevara framed with an anonymous silhouette and a palm tree; the second has someone’s head appearing above his shoulder. But it’s the first picture that is destined to be Guevara’s most famous portrait and the most reproduced image in the history of photography.
Weeks and months later, Korda’s shot is passed out to friends and published by a few small Cuban publications. Then in 1967, Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick uses Korda’s image as a basis for creating his own stylised posters.

To create the image that pop artist Sir Peter Blake would later refer to as “one of the great icons of the 20th century”, Fitzpatrick made a paper negative on a piece of equipment called a grant enlarger. Printed in black, red, and yellow, Fitzpatrick “wanted the image to breed like rabbits” and gave away thousands of posters, often hundreds of copies at a time.
Because of Fitzpatrick’s desire for the photo to reflect something of himself, he raised Che’s eyes more and added his initial, an “F” on the shoulder. It was not until the 40th anniversary of Che’s death, that Fitzpatrick admitted to this fact stating “I’m a bit mischievous, so I never told anyone.” At this time Fitzpatrick said that “I love the picture and wherever I am in the world, if I see it, I take a photo of it. I always have a chuckle when I see that little “F”. I know that it’s mine.”
The image today remains as popular as ever. In his book ‘Che’s Afterlife: The legacy of an Image’, author Michael Casey believes it still taps into a deep well of emotion; “The randomness of the creation of the Korda image, the magic of a chance encounter, partly explains its power. This moment of beauty was as fleeting as any, yet in capturing it the photographer made it immortal. And immortality, we are told, is the stuff of art.”
Next week – the story behind the symbol for peace.

Alberto Korda

Jim Fitzpatrick 

Article by John Fountain senior writer at Avvio

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Tuesday 15 March 2011

Whatever happened to the brilliant strapline?

A great article that needs to be shared by Magnus Shaw - blogger and copywriter

‘Let your fingers do the walking’, ‘Put a tiger in your tank’,
‘Don’t leave home without it’.
Just where did those fantastic company straplines go?
When I set out as green but keen junior copywriter, the briefs I most looked forward to were those requiring a strapline. You know, a string of words whose intention is to capture the essence of a brand, product or service and attach itself to the consumer’s perception. A sort of catch-all selling point that was probably once known as a slogan.

There’s something very pure about the creative challenge in strapline building. It forces the copywriter to be concise – you have no more than about six words with which to play, preferably fewer, so every syllable must count. But this short phrase must be informative, persuasive and memorable. In many ways, it’s the true test of a copywriter’s abilities.

Either those skills are rapidly vanishing or strong straps are no longer regarded as having much currency – because the overwhelming majority of new straplines are simply dismal.
Take for instance, the case of a well-known, door-to-door cosmetics company. The scope for a stylishly sharp company moto, perhaps hinging on the notion of glamour at home or convenient beauty is huge. But somehow, somewhere a copywriter pitched the strapline ‘Want It? Get It!’ and managed to sell it to the client. I’d venture that a room of sleepy ten year olds watching non-stop Rastamouse would have conjured something more witty, warm and winning in about an hour without charge.
When it launched, I blasted Sky’s ‘Believe In Better’ for its meaninglessness. It is still running and indeed appears to have inspired a whole new raft of dreadfulness.  Filling the gap created by Comet’s insipid, clumsy and ditched ‘We Deal In Your Ideal’ is Curry’s ‘We Can Help’. Now, I am all for simplicity – far too many brands and campaigns collapse under the weight of their own complexity – but ‘We Can Help’ has the appearance of a strapline that was sold to the first client who happened to pass by, whether that was Dunstable Social Services, The RAC, Dignitas or Curry’s. It’s meaning and message are so generic, so lacking in commitment, as to be utterly vacuous. Equally, if I mention the strapline ‘That Was Easy’, I am sure you would struggle to even guess the type of business being promoted, let alone the company’s name. Go on, have a guess. The answer is at the foot of the page*.
Perhaps we shouldn’t expect any better from high street retailers, maybe they’re losing out to their online cousins so badly, they can only afford the intern writer or – frighteningly – they’re writing their own branding material. But what excuse do Guinness have?
For crying out loud, there was a time when the Guinness campaigns were the high benchmark for creative advertising. From ‘Guinness Is Good For You’ to ‘Good Things Come To Those Who Wait’, here was a unique brand that really knew how to communicate its selling points and character. That’s all over and now we must suffer the nonsense that is ‘You Don’t Pour It, You Bring It To Life’.
Of course you don’t. And that’s why it’s so poor (ho, ho). A great strapline has truth running through it like a stick of rock. If doesn’t, it fails. I recall a meeting with a branding agency who were launching a new range of in-line skates. They were pushing the strap ‘We Invented The Wheel’. I argued it was a weak line because, although it was melodramatic, it simply wasn’t true. I offered the re-written ‘Re-inventing The Wheel’ and it received a far better response in market testing. Not because it was particularly brilliant, but because it was at least vaguely believable.

More recently I worked with a company gearing up for the launch of a new brand style and the replacement of their positioning strapline. I dearly wish I could to tell you who it is, but the most I can say is that the new line was glaringly and grammatically incorrect. Unfortunately, I had neither the remit nor the clout to have it withdrawn and must now watch the work roll-out with this carbuncle attached. Such is the lot of the copywriter who once loved straplines enough to be saddened by one whose construction is simply wrong.

So, if you’re a writer and you’re fortunate enough to be tasked with creating a strapline for a client, try not to see it as a minor part of a bigger brief or an afterthought. Give it a bit of care and considered attention, see if there’s a real gem lurking in the brief and test yourself. Who knows? You may just come up with something to match these beauties:
Every Little Helps’
No FT. No Comment’
‘Reassuringly Expensive.’
‘The appliance of science.’

*It was Staples. (But could just as easily have been Super-Noodles).

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