I live and breathe marketing.
I notice billboards and bus ads when I’m walking to work, I read the copy on cereal boxes when I’m eating, and I can’t help but notice the messaging on shampoo bottles when I’m in the shower. (Those brand marketers at P&G really know what they’re doing.)
I notice marketing that stands out for whatever reason — maybe it’s particularly good or particularly bad — and I analyze it to understand why it’s effective. My goal is to help marketers learn from each other, and to help consumers become more aware of marketing so that they can think for themselves.
So brand marketing is ingrained in my daily life.
At work, I focus on marketing communications. Most of my time is spent on content marketing in the form of blog posts, eBooks, social media posts, newsletters, case studies, etc. I also work on positioning and messaging that describes a technical field so that people understand what we do, while doing justice to the technology behind the scenes.
Since I write so much, I wanted to continually hone my craft. So I turned to fiction.
What does fiction have to do with marketing and copywriting?
I thought this too. I, too, thought that only non-fiction on a specific topic relevant to what I was working on was worth my time.
So when I re-discovered fiction, I held a grimy library book in my trembling hands and felt like I had just stepped out of Plato’s cave. It was epic. Now I can participate in high-brow conversations about Nabokov, Camus, and Oates. Kidding!
What I did realize, though, is that fiction is about storytelling. And stories can teach people more than non-fiction can. The combination of insight and emotion is memorable, which is why people remember stories but not top 20 lists.
Besides the content of stories, the way that they are told is important. The words themselves. I developed an appreciation for the aspects of writing that help to express an idea in full force — things like rhythm, word length, sentence length, variation, concision, tone, style, repetition, connotation. This helped me become a better writer. It helped become a better marketer.
Some of the best brands are ones that get people to feel. When I use my Swiffer, I feel productive and efficient and clean. When I put on my Nikes, I feel invincible. The first time I got my new Apple EarPords, I held them gingerly and even kept the little plastic package that it came in, even though it’s impossible to get the things wrapped back in. I’m not even an Apple fan boy. But I felt the love.
Storytelling, similarly, is about getting people to feel. It’s about bringing someone into your world. The world of your brand.
There is a lot of overlap in marketing, consumer behavior, and writing. I care about those topics and how they shape the way we communicate and define ourselves. In my blog, I’ll share analysis about marketing — cool campaigns, digital ads, print ads, product copy, packaging, etc. What causes people to buy? What can we learn?
I’ll also cover writing, storytelling, and communication. “Communication” sounds like corporate jargon coming from HR, but it’s really about how you explain yourself and talk to people and get your message across. That’s pretty important. We do it daily in big and small ways. So being more aware of how we communicate, and how to be more effective at communicating, is interesting to me.
I will close by saying that I like tea. I never drink at happy hour because one glass of wine will put me to sleep. So if you would like to grab coffee or tea, and talk about Nabokov (not really) or shampoo bottles (really), drop me a line and we’ll set something up.