Friday, June 24, 2011

Stop Writing Copy

I will explain...

The word 'copy' comes from the French 'copie' and the Latin 'copia' -- both of which refer to a reproduction or transcript. write copy is to deliver a reproduction or a manuscript of an event or an idea.  But a good copywriter doesn't write copy, she tells stories.

(How boring was that?  Oh, sorry, it wasn't a story.)

Anyway, if you have a company (or work for one) and you want to attract more business, tell a story.  Have a conversation with your customer, don't talk at her or him.
Instead of, "the best selection..." or "aisles and aisles of incredible prices..." how about putting this on your website, in written form or in a video (makes a great radio commercial too)...

"Yep, we'd like to grow our business.  And the best way to do that is to give you the same thing we want -- affordable choices.
We're not perfect.  We carry lots of cool stuff but we don't have everything.   When we price our (insert; clothing, shoes, groceries, lighting fixtures, etc.) we do everything we can to stay competitive.
Thankfully, you've told us you like shopping at out store(s).   
It means a lot to us when we see you come back.   We smile because we know we've done our job well.  But if we ever let you down, please let us know.  We'll do everything we can to fix it, immediately.

Thank you for your business.  See you soon!"

Isn't that what we all want?  Affordable choices, a two-way, respectful relationship, and a "Thank you"?

Here's another way to do it, with even more storytelling...

"Mary came back to our Tri-City location this week...

She told us that the (thing) she bought didn't work out like she had hoped.  So we took it back and helped her pick out a different one.  It took her a while because there's a lot to choose from.  When she found what she wanted she looked like a tween about to enter her first Justin Bieber concert.  We love that look!

So please check out the cool stuff we've got.  Too much to mention here.

And when you find what you're looking for, and see how affordable it is, we're pretty sure you'll have that same smile on your face.

Thanks for your business.  See you soon!"

No, "money back guarantee".  No, "great customer service".  No, "low-price guarantee".

Just a story, that's says so much more.

What's your story?



Friday, June 17, 2011

Have You Seen Her Movie?

Your boss, a peer, or a direct report at work.  A client or a customer.  Your mom or dad, or a friend.  Or maybe it's that 300 pound person who just ordered a triple-cheeseburger.

Do you find yourself saying, "Why did they do that?"  "Why did they have to say it that way?"  You'd do it differently, wouldn't you?  You'd say it in a nicer way, wouldn't you?  And your way is probably better, isn't it?

About a year ago I read a remark-able book,  The Fifth Agreement.  Authors don Miguel and don Jose Ruiz present an interesting perspective, and through my lens, it looks like this...

Imagine you walk into a dark movie theater.  You notice someone sitting alone, near the front.  You walk down and sit just behind her and to the side.  As your eyes adjust to the dim lighting you realize that it's your mom, or that client, or your boss.

And then the curtains open and a movie starts to play.  It's her life story.  You see her birth.  Who was there?  Who wasn't?  You see her play and argue with friends.  You see her bullied or maybe she bullied someone else.  You see her as she experiences her first early teen crush.  You see her as she experiences joy, sadness, envy, love, and so many other emotions.  And you watch as she witnesses the same emotions in others.  And since she's nearby, you also get to see her re-living those experiences.  You see see her laugh and cry as her movie plays right in front of her, and you.

And then your face appears on the screen.  You look a bit different than you thought you did.  And then it hits you.  She sees you differently than you see yourself.

In your life, in your work, in your relationships -- there are decisions to be made, risks to take, work to be done.  And when someone doesn't do it the way you'd do it, it might help to realize that you haven't seen their move -- and they haven't seen yours'.

When we judge others we are doing it through our own lens -- through our worldview.  It can be helpful to realize that other perspectives are in play and that they're just as valid as our own.

Do the Work Be passionate and determined.  And find that place within yourself where empathy resides.  It will take some weight off your shoulders and make the whole process more enjoyable -- for everyone.

If you find this blog post to be interesting or helpful (or maybe even better than that) please pass it on to someone else.  Thank you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who's On Your Wall?

About ten years ago I attended the annual managers' meetings for the company that employed me at the time.  It was in Las Vegas and there were about 500 of us.  At the annual gala dinner our entertainment was Jay Leno.  He was much funnier than on The Tonight Show (but I digress).  I worked for the executive who orchestrated Leno's appearance so he invited me to go backstage after the show and meet Jay.  There were about 10 of us backstage and Jay was very gracious, posing for pictures with each of us and asking sincere questions.  He couldn't have been nicer.

For several years I had that picture on my wall or on my desk.  And then one day it hit me.  "If Jay had a copy of this photo would he display it?"  Of course not.

So I took it down and put it in a box somewhere with the other pictures of me with "famous" people.  I thought I'd include it in this post but I can't find it.

Self-esteem, self-respect, and self-reliance come from within.  They're developed by overcoming obstacles, solving problems in a unique and creative way, and by making mistakes and learning from them.

Jay does many things better than me.  I do many things better than him.  And we both have a similar number of shortcomings.  We are equals.

You might have a picture on your wall of someone who doesn't know you.  Maybe you find inspiration when you look at it.  My challenge to you is to ask yourself if the inspiration you seek might be best if it comes from you.

Who's on your wall?  Whose wall are you on?