I’m currently busy preparing for a trade fair, Midem in January. So like everyone else, I spend a lot of time mining the event database looking for potential partners. I’ve done this from different sides of the table for 15 years now (both copywriting and sales), and I still see the same mistakes coming back time and again.
Britain’s Observer magazine had an interesting supplement this weekend: a list of Britain’s coolest brands. The research body Superbrands commissions an independent survey of experts and consumers to produce a yearly barometer of the coolest brands, people and places in the UK. You’ll find out more about it on their website.
Car manufacturer Aston Martin (photo) came out tops. But I’d like to fast-forward to a thought that struck me.
Remember e-commerce? That shiny new thing that would save business and give us all the exact coordinates of the end of the rainbow? When did it die? Or, more precisely from a copywriting point of view, when did it stop being a desirable goal of its own?
Copywriters love carrots. They’re good for the eyes and we think that readers will always jump at them. So when developing a headline, body copy or e-mail shot, we’re always looking for exciting carrots to dangle in front of the readers’ eyes.
E-commerce is not a carrot any more.
When will we run out of names? Although I originally got involved in product naming as an add-on feature to the business of copywriting, it really does call on very particular skills. It’s often thought of as the ultimate in creative writing, as so much is condensed into just one word. There have also been a tidal wave of nonsensical trendy names that sound creative over the past few years. They only add to the perception of it being some sort of dark art (although I think they probably have more to do with the difficulty of getting one-word domain names).
I remember when it was held as a truth that the written word was dying and the world would communicate visually. Luckily for writers, the Cannes film festival is there to remind everyone that in the beginning was the word. And not only are words essential to get a story moving, they are also there at every step of the way when it is pitched to a producer, who then pitches to co-producers and financiers, before pitching it to distributors and later the press.
I’ve been working on a few projects recently that can best be described as “personal branding”, coaches or consultants that decide to build their business under their own name. But “personal branding” has a very selfish ring to it. At its worst, it’s an exercise in ego-stroking. But as the “brands” in question were perfectly aware, there’s more to personal branding than “me-me-me”.
In 7 years of creating the campaigns for Midem, we have seen the world of trade fairs transform at an unbelievable rate. It’s not unfair to say that many trade fairs until recently had been seen by their organisers pretty much a way of renting space to companies. Yet Midem, part of the Reed MIDEM group, has blazed a trail and is re-inventing the way trade fairs see themselves and engage with their audiences.