This is why your marketing isn’t hitting the mark

 

If your brand communications aren’t really doing the business for your business, it’s likely to be down to one critical factor…

In a recent issue of Campaign magazine, Trevor Robinson OBE discussed judging this year’s Cannes Lions brand communications awards. The judges were ‘horrified’ by some of the copywriting they saw and frankly, we’re not surprised.

Says Robinson: “This year, our jury, which had award-winning copywriters on it, were horrified by some of the efforts passing for copy that we had to read through. The writing was generally ill thought through, dull and sloppy… The root cause of this is debatable. Perhaps it’s because we are of the texting generation, where the written word isn’t valued and everything is abbreviated or replaced with an emoji.

“Maybe we don’t feel we have the time to spend crafting what we write in our always-on, tweet-before-you-think culture… we should be raising our game considerably when it comes to copy.”

He makes some very good points. There’s a lot of bad copy out there. And there are many reasons for this (which we’ll come back to another time). Copywriting – or messaging, at least – is the lynchpin of marketing and its influence should be recognised.

Make no mistake, words are the lifeblood of almost every successful brand campaign. Language doesn’t just catch the eye or the ear; it generates positive behavioural change.

Taking responsibility

Good copywriting deserves to be valued by businesses and by creative agencies, but perhaps most of all, copywriters need to take more ownership of their craft.

They alone are the guardians and champions of good copy and their voices need to be heard when creative decisions are being made.

If a strapline, hero line or headline works and the copywriter believes in it, then it is up to them to defend it as vociferously as a designer would defend the colour of a logo.

Great copywriting has texture, balance, nuance, rhythm and pace. To create it requires focus and finesse and – if it is to do its job – the copy needs to be given the respect it’s due and protected against the influence of others.

Why? A single ill-judged or hasty amend can torpedo an otherwise compelling campaign or concept.

As an agency that places copywriting at the heart of all its creative output, we work with some incredibly talented copywriters and, trust us, there are loads of them out there. So is the problem down to the ‘texting generation’?

Not as far as we’re concerned. It’s often about trust. Great copywriters write great copy. Trust them to do what they do best and they’ll create soaring campaigns that are filled with messages that engage, excite and entertain.

Trevor Robinson was right when he said that “we should be raising our game considerably when it comes to copy”. We should. Copywriters, creative directors, designers and business owners alike.