Behavioural science · Copywriting · Language

Want your writing to change the world?

Research shows we’re more likely to contribute towards solving major global problems if we’re presented with positive visions of the future, rather than negative ones of the present.

This article covers how affirmation can be more powerful than guilt. Something to think about when communicating with people and attempting to change behaviours…

Check out this blog here on Psyche.

Language · Leadership

How did leaders use language to unite their nations during COVID-19?

Great leadership communication can change hearts and minds. So how did leaders use language to unite their nations during COVID-19?

In virus-free New Zealand, PM Jacinda Ardern used lots more collective pronouns such as ‘we’ and ‘our’ when compared to the UK’s Boris Johnson. Johnson used the phrase ‘I want to’ four times more frequently than his New Zealand counterpart.

Ardern also balanced this empathetic approach with words like ‘hard’ and ‘strong’. Through choosing her words wisely, she created a sense of togetherness whilst positioning herself as an authority.

Thanks to the linguistics team at University of Sussex for this research. Some fantastic lessons in here: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/52112#

Copywriting · Language · Voicetech

What would a feminist Alexa look, or rather sound, like?

Many of us now use Siri or Alexa. They help us cook, set alarms, check the weather, tell the time and more.

But have you ever wondered why these domestic helpers adopt female personas? And, on the flip side, why do banking and insurance apps often use male voices?

Here’s a really interesting article in AIGA Eye on Design discussing the role of gender in language, unhealthy stereotyping and writing for bots.

I’ve not been asked to write a script or create a personality for a bot yet! But with many businesses now using them, this is so useful to bear in mind.

Branding · Copywriting · Socialmedia · Tone of voice

The power of a social media caption

I’m on a podcast about writing for brands on social media.

We talk tone of voice, smoothie brand Innocent (obviously) and how to sound if your brand isn’t a smoothie company.

Victoria and Jon provide plenty of platform wisdom. And it’s just over 15 minutes long.

I was invited onto this pod by the team at Carve, who publish Tweets, Insta Stories and Snaps for some of the world’s largest organisations.

Fancy a listen?

Branding · Copywriting · Risk · Socialmedia · Tone of voice

Every brand wants to be as good on social media as Yorkshire Tea. But how do you do it?

Has anyone seen Yorkshire Tea’s Twitter account over the last couple of days?

It’s exploded into a frenzy of Retweets, Likes and Comments. All because new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, sent out a Tweet about making a round of tea. Only, this turned into an extraordinary round of teamaking…

Yorkshire Tea’s response on social media deserves applause. And it’s got many marketers wishing their brand could be less dreary and twee, and perhaps a little more Yorkshire Tea.

Here are the three things I think brands should do – to start creating content on social media that’s human, and to galvanise their reputations.

Find them in this blog on Medium.

Advertising · Behavioural science · Copywriting · Storytelling · Tone of voice

I enjoyed this advert by Fractal

Just a quick post.

This Fractal advert on the back page of this week’s The Economist caught my attention. It has a lot going for it:

  • A catchy heading
  • An engaging story
  • An inclusive tone of voice
  • Evidence of results and benefits for the reader
  • An intriguing ending
  • It talks to its target audience using “you”.

It’s always nice to see a reminder of what good looks like in advertising. If you’re advertising something soon, is there anything you can learn from it?

Copywriting · Socialmedia

Nigella is a genius (on social media too!)

I like this Instagram post by Nigella. It shows she really knows her audience.

Not many people would think to clarify “click on link in bio”. But she’s thought about what her readers and social media followers might need.

It’s clear, helpful copywriting.

Branding · Copywriting · Tone of voice

Case study: Creating the voice for a pseudo-data-mining-company

Earlier this year, I collaborated with international artist Joey Holder on a project called Adcredo, where I created the voice for a pseudo corporation that mines data and uses it to change behaviours.

A lot has happened since then – not just with this work, which has travelled to Sheffield, London and Athens – but we also know much more about how higher powers use such techniques.

So just remember, especially as the election looms, what appears on your timeline is what you’re *meant* to see! (Shivers)

You can take a look at the branding here, where I tried to create a sinister tone of voice: https://www.joeyholder.com/adcredo

AI · Jargon · Language · Tone of voice · Voicetech

Study: Leaders use jargon when business is failing

An oldie but a goodie.

A couple of year’s ago, an AI solution by S&P Market Intelligence began to predict trading markets based on the jargon used by business leaders.

It found leaders speaking in complicated, long-winded and polysyllabic language tended to precede stock declines.

“When it’s good news, people tend to say it directly. When they have bad news, they tend to dance around it,” said David Pople, Head of Quantamental Research at S&P.

What does your language or the language your organisation uses reveal about you? And if this was a couple of years ago, I’d love to know where this tech has got to today.

Here’s the full article in the Financial Times (paywall).

Advertising · Branding · Copywriting · Socialmedia · Tone of voice

Carve in the FT

I’ve been working with global social agency, Carve, over the past few months – defining their tone of voice, writing for world-leading clients and helping communicate Carve’s new partnership with AIA Worldwide.

At the top of this post is the advert I wrote that went in the Financial Times.