Think about your most recent project. Who, exactly, were you writing for?
For me, this is the most important question in any and every writing brief. It ensures that the writer uses the correct tone, that the message has the strongest impact and affinity with the customer, and that we drive a definite action. It’s important to note that the answer should never be that you’re writing to please your client or senior management – without fail, you’re always writing to please the end user.
But that’s not to say that we don’t want to please our clients! If anything, we use this approach to make our copy stronger, and demonstrate that they’re truly getting their money’s worth. After all, our expertise in crafting compelling copy and our understanding of what consumers actually want and like is key to the success of the campaign. We’re in it together.
Sometimes, there’s a difference between what our clients want to say from a brand perspective, and what we as an agency believe the audience wants or needs to hear. Here’s where a user-first perspective and a clear, detailed, comprehensive brief really come into play.
From understanding to usability
For all copywriting, translation and design projects at The Giles Agency we ensure that our account and project management teams complete an accurate brief for our creative teams. Why? It’s important that all of our staff understand what they’re working on, why it’s being created, who it’s for, and have been alerted to any brand preferences and nuances they should consider before putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard, should I say!).
This ensures that our first draft is as strong as possible – something that’s especially important for digital content. Lots of money is spent each year on UX design to ensure that usability is the key factor in the development of any website or app, but this can easily fall down if the same approach isn’t taken to the content itself. For maximum impact, we work in partnership with strong digital development agencies in both Hong Kong and Singapore, and get involved from the very earliest wireframe stages to ensure that usability and content are developed in tandem from the beginning.
The million-dollar question in comms is: Who is your audience?
It’s great for client briefs to contain standard demographic information (age ranges, professions, locations), but if a company sells a number of products within their portfolio, many demographics may overlap and you risk targeting a generic audience.
We like to dig deeper into audience mindsets and actions to really define who they are – for example, what do they already know about the product or brand we are writing about? How much time do they spend digesting content on the platform we’re writing for? Are they juggling work, family, or other commitments that we should consider or allude to? Are they likely to be brand loyal, or will they have purchased or experienced competing brands, too? What mindset will they be in when they receive this communication – will they be browsing, actively searching for information, passively and unexpectedly receiving it through the door, or seeking thought-leadership or factual, to-the-point information in the newspaper?
It’s vital that clients bring us their objectives, targets, and knowledge of the corporate side of why communication materials are being created. Naturally, this is usually to drive sales, but by partnering with an agency like The Giles Agency, this motivation can work in harmony with our user-first mindset. It allows us to reach a middle ground that hits all objectives, and ultimately gives both the customer and the brand what they’re looking for (information to make a decision, and lead generation and sales, respectively).
Want to discuss this with us further? Please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for any enquiries or queries you may have – or if you’d like to work together.