How to tell Great Stories with Copy that Connects
Copywriters, at their core, are storytellers, and this approach to storytelling is as ancient as it gets. There is no narrative without conflict, and branded stories need their conflicts to be resolved. After all, your service offering is the solution to the conflict within your story. It’s a structure that accesses the lizard brain depths of your users’ minds- it just makes sense to us humans on a fundamental level.
FRAMING THE STORY
Copy is important because it adds structure to the brand narrative. The creative process must begin with a strong copy line, from which designs and visuals can be extrapolated. There can be no visual story (and no content) without the words on the page.
Your first consideration is, of course, who you’re talking
to. A retail assistant will not respond to the same touch points or engage with
the same language as a financial services executive. In the former scenario,
it’s best to limit the use of jargon and focus on making your voice clear and
relatable. In the latter, hard data, growth statistics and business buzzwords
go a long way, but remember that you’re still trying to make your message as
simple and resonant as possible.
It’s about striking a balance between accessibility and authority.
Next, consider what the story will be. You’ll often have to condense a great deal of information about a product or service into a short video, usually 60 to 90 seconds long.
In the meantime, here’s a structure that often works for us, helping to narrow our focus and shave off all that extra (irrelevant) information. Of course, there are as many different ways to tell a story as there are human beings on Earth (more, in fact), but it’s a good starting point.
To begin with, hook your audience with the central conflict: a question or problem, preferably one that’s relevant to their lives. For example, you could ask an audience composed of marine biologists, ‘how can we prevent overfishing of the world’s oceans?’ Alternatively, you could state the problem: ‘Overfishing is draining the world’s oceans of their biodiversity.’ Which approach you choose is entirely dependent on which tone you’re trying to achieve, and for which purpose. Just remember that your hook will only be effective if you ask yourself which emotions you want your audience to feel as they engage with your content, and connect with them on that level.
Once you’ve set up the problem, you need to talk about why your audience should care. Not in as many words perhaps, but you do need to find a unified emotional through-line that makes the difference between, ‘OK, I’m interested’ and ‘Where is the skip button?’ The trick is, of course, to understand your audience. What do they want? What are they afraid of? And how can your service offering help them? These touch-points will vary across audiences, so avoid one-size-fits-all messaging. Our work for the De Beers Group, for example, involved designing and writing three separate brochures: one for corporate stakeholders, one for luxury buyers, and one for retail staff. These audiences are all involved in the diamond industry, yet each has preferences and concerns that necessitate a highly distinct tone of voice.
CRAFTING A TONE OF VOICE
Brands speak to their customers in very specific ways. Your choice of language, the way your sentences are constructed, even the way you spell certain words- it all needs to be in service to the brand, and to the audience you’re speaking to. If your audience are mainly high-flying CEOs, you need to know what you’re talking about, using the right jargon in the right ways. Business leaders can see right through complication for complication’s sake, and appreciate a tone of voice that cuts through the fluff to make a pertinent point about their industry. If your audience is mainly composed of teenage girls with an interest in fashion, your tone of voice could be light, current and aspirational, speaking directly to their interests and day-to-day lives. Really, it all depends on your brand’s values and aesthetics. A colourful, exuberant brand will often use very flamboyant language, while a more corporate entity will keep their messaging subdued and informative. Your job as a copywriter is essentially to make sure you can hit those emotional notes and get people excited within the framework of your brand values.
Read more about telling great stories with copy that connects here.
Nucco Brain is a buzzing visual storytelling studio in London’s Tech City. We blend the old world and the new: the ancient tradition of storytelling and a youthful curiosity for diving headfirst into the latest technologies in content production, animation, VR and AR. We design visual experiences that capture the attention of an increasingly distracted audience. And that’s why our clients stick around.
Our clients include DeBeers, Nokia, HSBC, WaterAid, Ethereum, Facebook, GSK, Campari, EDF, Nike, Deloitte, Lycamobile, John Lewis Partnership, Adidas, Merlin Entertainment, BBC and many more. For more information about Nucco Brain, check out their website: www.nuccobrain.com