Category: Marketing book reviews

A copywriting week for marketers

A copywriting week for marketers

Nonfiction book review in marketing


Copywriting in a week. By Robert Ashton.
John Murray Learning, 2016. Pp. 124. £7.00. ISBN 978 1473 609419

Techniques to improve advertising copies

If you are a (digital) copywriter and you need to improve your style and technique but you don’t have enough time (and budget), you will find this book easy to read and follow. In only seven chapters, which match with an ordinary week, Robert Ashton exposures all the elements that a good (persuasive) copy should have, in particular for whom are in the (digital) marketing sector.

It’s Sunday. What does Robert bring us today? The reader will learn how to make the copy effective. In here, the rule is: know (making the audience aware of your specific message), think (what they need to think) and do (purely and merely call to action). On a comfy Sunday, readers will learn how to make the copy a pleasurable reading, how to capture audience’s attention (call to action, again). After clarifying the goals of the copy, Ashton will teach us the structure of the copy, jargons and what they mean. The day closes on how to hook the reader through some words selected.

Now, we are on Monday. In an unusual Monday, Ashton shows us how people read, because it will be important when preparing the layout of the piece of copy. The author will make us to be focused on the features of the copy (from the texture to the visual elements of it). Also, he introduces the techniques to influence the readers on by visual ways to present the piece of copy. For who wants to write copies for branding projects, the ending of this part is essential as the author conveys the techniques to make words memorable.

Finally, Tuesday. This chapter is about email and written letters. Starting from differences between them, Ashton explains when it is appropriate to write business letters; how to combine familiarity with formality and how it is possible to build business relationships by using written letters. No more, no less.

Just in the middle: Wednesday. Ashton conveys the techniques to stimulate responses by creating copies for advertising. Although you ‘know about your personas’, it is important to be careful about the copy you will advertise. Therefore, guidelines are focused on persuasive actions, because we really don’t know who they are. Also, the author tells us about types and language of advertising, and most importantly, for beginners, how to construct effective display advertising, including posters.

Almost there: Thursday. Ashton talks about how to deal with mass media. He teaches us on how to build relationship with journalists, how material is selected by them, how to become media commentator and how to become a good one. By the end of the chapter, a good reminder has been taught: blog is not the space to advertise, but to comment.

Glorious Friday. In here, Ashton tells us how to write piece of copy for promotional print (leaflets, brochures, catalogues, etc). In addition, he opens the world of the print copies to show how it works. Yet, in the customization era, Ashton teaches us how to personalize a promotional copy: simply, as if it is a cover letter and how to generate a response.

And before the night comes: Saturday. The end of the book is simply as it is how to structure a proposal, as a final step just after having done sales letters and brochures. Moreover, it is important for a copywriter how to present sales proposal and how to use PowerPoint for a copy. Nonetheless, the author closes the chapter talking about how to create signage, by using humour.

In one week, readers/pupils will have a clear picture about the art of building copies and how to be persuasive through words. However, in the digital era, where every detail is shown in a small touchable screen, is there a room for words?

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Shh. Don’t tell how to make people talk about your brand

Shh. Don’t tell how to make people talk about your brand

Nonfiction book review in marketing

Contagious. How to build word of mouth in the digital age
By Jonah Berger / Simon & Schuster UK LTD, 2014. P. 244. £11.00 ISBN: 978-1-47111-170-9

From Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, John Berger has been investigating how products, services, brands and ideas can be at the centre of people’s conversation. It is the word-of-mouth, a marketing technique to make people to talk about a brand, a restaurant, a product. Contagious is one of Berger’s books, which stand for this technique and how it will impact on any company’s profitability.

On the menu. Berger launches his STEPPS model from which word – of – mouth is all about. It stands for social currency, trigger, emotion, public, practical value and story. By bringing on the table a series of anecdotes, the professor shows to the readers how every ‘station’ makes a product the centre of common conversation, online or offline.

When Berger talk about Social currency. Simply, he points out how to make remarkable a product, idea or brand. This is just to make remarkable selling points by using the mystery and the surprise effects. Besides, social recognition seems to be at the core at this point: people listen to other for recommendations, because people follow what looks “cool” and worthy to be commented.

Why people talk about the product or brand more than others? One word: stimuli. The key is to make people associate brands or products to sights, smells, sounds. The senses play a crucial role because they trigger the association between perceptions and thoughts. It is what Berger names “inducted transference”, that is to make people associate the brand or product with a sense and/or meaning.

Emotionality couldn’t be out of this story. Berger tells us about the marketing benefits by using the theories based on psychological arousal. Awe and happiness, as well as anger and anxiety impact on people’s sensitivities and make the audience remember the brand/product. Somehow, it is the rule of “when we care, we share” (p. 96).

Becoming Public the content is another Berger’s strategy. A viral content should be on the stage and accessible to be imitated by the collective, because at the end of the day, people do what others do. Using smartly the joy of the neologism, the author impress the readers by telling us about the “social proof”, that is people tend to imitate the behaviour of their peers because “People assume that the longer the line, the better the food must be.” (p. 131).

The value of your product or service must be practical. It is Practical Value, when the content is useful, because it carries practical information. It is the how to do it tactic. Based on the “prospect theory”, Berger suggests taking advantage of the point references people have on their imaginary and show deals as valuable as possible.

The last homework for marketers would be the Story. As the Greek story – the Trojan horse, a successful story is when it has a practical information or teaches something to people. The content should make people talk about the message because it is exchangeable, public and emotional.

In overall, Contagious is a great book for whom is curious about how videos are viral, or message or TV advertising. By this book, Berger contributes with vast information available for specialist and practitioners.

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