What makes you different?

in Top copywriting tips

Copywriting conferences are like buses. You wait ages for one and then two come along at once. No sooner I had I got back from Copy Capital a few weeks ago than I was off to Copywriting Conference.

Copywriting Conference is organised by ProCopywriters, the alliance of commercial writers. There were plenty of networking opportunities (AKA gossiping with old friends and meeting kindred spirits) and plenty of copywriting in-jokes (AKA lots of swearing – copywriters are nothing if not a sweary bunch).

More importantly, there were also lots of useful insights and interesting copywriting angles.

One of my favourite talks was by Anna Gunning of Gunning Marketing, who spoke about getting the most out of the briefing process.

Here was one of the gems she shared.

One of the most important parts of a brief is to understand what sets one company apart from another. Understanding these differentiators means you can give readers a reason to choose this business over that one.

She highlighted how often businesses say that what sets them apart is something like their high quality or their excellent customer service or their commitment to sustainability. The trouble is, when every company says the same thing, no one stands out and customers are none the wiser.

The solution is to unpick these statements and find out what sits behind them. What is it that makes the quality is good? What is it about the customer service that’s different? What does the commitment to sustainability look like?

By focusing on the specifics you create a vivid picture of what makes a company different and gives customers a reason to choose you.

Here’s an example of this from First Direct on customer service:

When the clock struck midnight on 1 October 1989, we received our first ever call. Our lines have been open ever since, making us the first UK bank to offer an always-open service to our customers. And the people you’ll talk to are famously brilliant at what they do. You’ll never talk to a robot – no ‘press 1 for…’ nonsense here, thank you very much.

And here’s Innocent on sustainability:

Our brand promise is tastes good, does good. As you’d hope, that means that everything we make will always taste good and do good. It will do you good, because we use healthy, natural ingredients, and it will do good for other people and for the planet, too. We give 10% of our profits to charity every year (mostly to the innocent foundation) and we strive to do business in an enlightened way, taking responsibility for the impact of our business on society and the environment.

Anna’s point was reinforced at the next workshop I attended – Bottle Your Brilliance by Anna McLoughlin of Inkspiller. It showed us how to translate our brilliance into words that our customers connect with and want to act on.

To do this, we looked at the who, what, how, why (and why not) of our businesses and the values of the person who sits at the heart of it. It was an incredibly insightful process. I’m still working on the sentence that bottles my brilliance – I’ll share it with you when I’ve captured it.

In the meantime, what makes you and your business different?

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