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?

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:

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.

Branding · Copywriting · Tone of voice

This hotel knows how to talk

Lots of brands have a top tone of voice in their campaigns. But very few manage to make it work in all the nooks and crannies.

I was very impressed with Citizen M’s tone on a trip to Glasgow – I took home all the stationery!

Behavioural science · Jargon · Tone of voice

How CrossFit reminded me about language

Last night I went to CrossFit for the first time. Free trial.

Before you ask, I’m fine. I’m not writing this from a hospital bed or anything. But whilst I was there it made me think about language and the way we use words at work.

When I arrived at this big warehouse – sun shining, lots of sweaty people – I talked to the person on reception and they said I could put my jumper and coat in the “Mezz”, and then hang there until the workout.

We then headed to the “Box”, before going over the “WOD”. We then smashed the “Wall Balls” and the “SQs” with “AMRAP” within eight minutes.

Are you still with me after all that gobbledygook?

See, the thing it reminded me of is that people love jargon.

As Harvard Professor and popular author Stephen Pinker says: “Jargon is a tribal thing. Jargon is a sociolect we’ve adopted amongst our colleagues. It’s a sense of being in a team.

“But, people who aren’t in the team feel left out.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. The people at CrossFit Nottingham were great at explaining all the lingo and the jargon.

Like most teams I’ve worked with at work, they were passionate about what they do. There was a sense of community and camaraderie there.

And they took the time to explain the jargon, to make me feel welcome.

What’s your equivalent to a WOD?

So, when you’re next communicating with the people in your team, think about your equivalents to a WOD (Workout of the day) or a SQ (Squat).

You might be using language like “synergies”. You might be “underpinning” a few things. (I won’t go on.) But think about how it feels to others. How does it feel to your readers and listeners? Are you explaining it? Do people understand you?

As humans, we’re socially conditioned to love jargon. To love feeling like we’re part of a team. But be aware of when and where you use it. And especially who you’re talking to.