How to spot Talented Writing from Good Writing.

I love writing and the semantics of words. Choosing the right words to write helps us structure our thoughts, communicate our ideas and establish shared meaning. That’s why improving our writing is so important.

Below is an excellent excerpt discussing the difference between good and talented writing.

Though they have things in common, good writing and talented writing are not the same.

If you start with a confused, unclear, and badly written story, and apply the rules of good writing to it, you can probably turn it into a simple, logical, clearly written story. Though it will still not be a good one. The major fault of eighty-five to ninety-five percent of all fiction is that it is banal and dull.

Now old stories can always be told with new language. You can even add new characters to them; you can use them to dramatize new ideas. But eventually even the new language, characters, and ideas lose their ability to invigorate.

Either in content or in style, in subject matter or in rhetorical approach, fiction that is too much like other fiction is bad by definition. However paradoxical it sounds, good writing as a set of strictures (that is, when the writing is good and nothing more) produces most bad fiction. On one level or another, the realization of this is finally what turns most writers away from writing.

Whereas good writing is clear, talented writing is energetic. Good writing avoids errors. Talented writing makes things happen in the reader’s mind — vividly, forcefully — that good writing, which stops with clarity and logic, doesn’t.

Samuel Delany: About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews 

Happy Writing!

Hello Flo

Just when you thought advertising for Feminine Hygiene products couldn’t get any more interesting (Ha!) Hello Flo went and created a highly entertaining film using a fictional young girl’s first period as inspiration to tell a very amusing story!

And their website is a highly engaging site as well focussed on everything to do with Females and Female issues.

Screenshot 2016-02-19 20.52.46

Nice to see a brand breaking free from  the mould of the “happy girl running carefree along the beach” cliche.

Storytelling in Advertising

Great ads tell great stories, most advertising people agree on this. Even in a digital world, a great idea still takes the audience on an interesting journey.

So, how do we write a great advertising storyline? There are a few overarching idea arcs that good ads have in common.

An overview of Advertising Storyline Structures

  1. Based on Human Insight: Where an idea captures a culturally relevant insight or trend (a category insight or a universal human insight) and links it to the brand in a relevant way. The tone of voice will vary across categories and brands (humour, camaraderie, joy, nostalgia or other emotions) but at their core, they connect with an underlying human truth.
  2. Creating a fictional world: This approach builds an intriguing fantasy world that helps demonstrate a brands proposition.
  3. Using Projection: Based on the human ego, this technique allows the audience to transfer or extend their hopes and desires onto the product or service being sold. This arc can also work in reverse, using fear or threat to warn the viewer of the potential dangers of making an incorrect decision. Either way, it’s about understanding the hopes and fears of the audience and then tying this up with the product in a relevant way.
  4. Product demonstration is when there is a stand out or new product feature that is best showcased with a stunning demonstration.

Here are some examples to make things clearer.

Human Insight Approach

IKEA are experts in simple, lighthearted ads that effortlessly communicate its proposition in witty and insightfully creative ways. The ad below is an example of instinctive / insightful communication built on a modern cultural truth about the way we live in a digital world.

IKEA BookBook

Creating a Fictional World

On the other hand, this campaign for Georgetown Optician is an imaginative story that tells the fictional story of a family obsessed with eyewear. It effectively communicates the point that Georgetown opticians are experts in glasses.

Georgetown Opticians

Using Projection

This campaign for NIKE, taps into peoples hopes and aspirations by empowering the audience to dream about the person they could become if they associate with NIKE.


Product Demonstration

In this ad for Apple Watch, the product does all the talking

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 23.33.20.png

The greatest communications are the most orginal. For your next broef, try using one of these story arcs or even breaking the mould and trying something totally new.

brand YOU

Set your angel free. Awesome thought.

The Brand Guy

c407e-guardian_angel_by_razvan_c-d6nbvbuThe Angel In The Stone

I edit for a living. Actually, that’s not true. I am a brand strategist. And at the beginning of every big project I amass a vast array of information, ideas and opinions.

My job, as the brand strategist, is to clear away the clutter, expose the truth that sits at the core of this array of information, ideas and opinions, and shape the words that articulate this truth in a powerful way.

The process is very much like being a sculptor, chipping away at the rock diligently and purposefully until the image reveals itself – a concept Michelangelo spoke of often:

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

For Michelangelo the idea was already there, inside the slab of stone, and his eyes and hands were the vessels by which the idea was brought forth. Sculpture, like editing…

View original post 426 more words

Winning with Heart.

The creative business is a people business. It’s about understanding, connecting and inspiring people through ideas and solutions.

The best communication is that which capture hearts and tells compelling stories. Additionally, those that nudge people into changing attitudes or behaviour are the ideas based on understanding the human mind and psychology to work out underlying thought patterns or habits.

Making a connection is sometimes art and other times science.

To do this well, we must be able to use our empathy and human understanding to unravel motivations. If we do not spend time or are not open to figuring out what drives motivations we will be less successful at connecting and winning with heart.

Winning with Heart

Whether we are thinking about our own personal or professional relationships or we are designing winning brands and companies, winning people’s hearts requires us to embody and nurture the values that our audience also finds important.

What do you do in your daily life that helps you

  • Uncover the motivations of your audience?
  • Mirror your audience’s values?

Live consciously!


Changes in Consumer Banking

There is so much wrong with the banking sector, but it’s also a sector I find interesting as it tends to be an early adopter of design and technology innovation.

Here are some recent banking trends I find interesting:


The bricks-and-mortar locations where banks traditionally conduct business in person with their customers are going through a big period of transformation.

Banks are closing branches, relocating branches, shrinking the square footage of branches and moving branches into shopping-center spaces to be closer to their consumer. They’re also changing the nature of services that banks offer customers at branches.

Transactions, which have been the backbone of branches, are migrating out of the branch and into other channels – Mobile apps, online, ATMs and other technology influences are taking the transactions out of the branch itself. “Intelligent ATMs” offer more transaction services or video screens that can connect customers to live tellers at call centers.


As transactions move out of branches, tellers must become less transaction-oriented and more focused on sales of bank products and services.

Even their job titles have changed from teller to personal banker, and now, universal banker. This new position describes branch employees who not only process transactions but also pitch products and services to customers through cross-selling and up-selling.


Early on, banks experimented with mobile, website-based banking services. But the trend today is toward mobile banking apps designed to deliver banking services via a smartphone.

Most banking apps allow customers to check account balances, review transactions, transfer funds from one account to another within the bank and pay bills within the bank or externally.

The big unknown is the extent to which mobile banking apps also will allow customers to complete transactions that are harder to authenticate remotely.


The risk of identity theft creates the incentive for consumers to take responsibility for the safety and security of their personal financial information. Whether that means a password-protected cellphone or one with virus protection, consumers have to be smart users of technology.

Banks are doing their part, too. One trend is stricter authentication systems that require more than a simple username and uncomplicated password to access a bank account.

But banks today don’t stop with authentication. Many are taking “a layered approach” that begins with authentication and adds plenty of other security systems.

“It’s like securing a house, you want strong locks, but you shouldn’t stop at the locks.”


Transaction security, in particular, will continue to be a challenge.

The magnetic strip, or “mag stripe,” found on the back of most debit cards and credit cards is old technology. The new tech, already widely used in Europe, involves a so-called EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip, which is much more secure than a mag stripe. The EMV chip produces unique coding for each transaction and transfers some of the liability for fraudulent transactions from banks to retailers.

Some past data breaches (for example target in the U.S) may have been prevented by having more robust card technology.

“I think we could see some drastic changes in the way we bank and the way the card is used”


Despite the ubiquity of plastic payment options, consumers still use cash and coin to pay for plenty of goods and services, particularly when small dollar amounts are involved. And much of that cash and coin passes through bank accounts at some point or another.

That could change as new payment technologies, like smartphone wallets and virtual currencies, make a run at displacing the cash and coin.

Banks offer some of these technologies, but many other nonbank companies also do it. That could mean some stiff competition in cash-replacement, technology-based services.


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