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I’m in love with Posterous

Please visit me there. It’s just so much easier to blog that way.

Meanwhile, once I have some breathing room I’ll update WordPress and integrate my Posterous posts with the Wordslinger blog.

Or you can always be my friend on Facebook.

SLUNG BY admin INTO Wordslinging
AT 5:10 pm on March 1, 2010  

Now that’s how to use an interface


There’s a lot going on in this sweet little finishing touch from Vimeo, which appears at the bottom of a video when you haven’t logged in to their site.

“Conversation” and “your voice” entreat you to join, “five seconds” says it’s quick and worth your time.

A very well-written example of how brand voice should be applied to user interface copy.

SLUNG BY admin INTO Branding, Wordslinging
AT 1:12 pm on September 18, 2009  


I’ve been busy. Hence this blog’s extended nap. I feel bad about this but there are good reasons. What I did with my past year:

- Rebranded a major dot-com consumer service, with special attention to brand voice in the user interface and every customer touch point (think log ins, error messages and privacy policies).
- Developed messaging and copy for a relationship-management service now in public beta.
- Repositioned a global health and wellness holding company, writing new elevator statements and a brand book.
- Launched a line of specialty beverages targeted at women, including product line naming and copy.
- Positioned and created the brand voice for a new dental analytics company.
- Repositioned a mid-sized law firm (website launch coming soon).
- Refreshed the brand voice and website copy for a top structural engineering firm (Snoozer? No way, these people are some of the smartest and most creative I’ve had the pleasure to work with).

And right now I’m in the thick of three adventures:

- Naming, positioning and launching Seattle’s first blow-dry bar.
- Writing the introduction for a leading design firm’s monograph.
- Naming, brand strategy, brand voice and rollout of a national preschool (with social media a core part of the marketing experience).

I also:

- Started ballet lessons again after 15 years, even performing on stage. (I was a ballerina in Britt 1.0)
- Grew a vegetable garden, with lots of help from my husband and daughter.
- Continue to raise a highly spirited six year old, and eek out the time to volunteer in her class.
- Managed to read almost all of my New Yorkers.

Whew. So go easy on yourself, girl!

SLUNG BY admin INTO Branding, Wordslinging, Writing Reality
AT 10:13 am on September 16, 2009  

Twitter is a ball-point pen

Thanks to John Rousseau for sharing this post on the value of Twitter.

I’m twittering @wordslinging, using it for precisely the reason Geoff Manaugh at BLDG BLOG discusses: note taking. I never thought of it that way. Makes me appreciate it more as a tool.

SLUNG BY Britt INTO Wordslinging, Writing Reality, Observations
AT 9:19 am on April 24, 2009  

Anthropologie connects with email marketing

I was surprised to receive this email from Anthropologie:

Anthropologie Email

Why this elicited a positive response:

- I sometimes like Anthropologie products.
- I care about eating local produce.
- It made me think of Anthropologie in a new way.

Why this works as break-through marketing:

- They’re collaborating with local superstars on key themes customers care about (they get their audience’s motivations).
- The design of the email is pleasing to the eye and on brand.

This treatment also implies that Anthropologie is a sustainably minded company. I know that they manufacture their products under dubious worker conditions, but it’s a cunning way to make me feel more comfortable about buying from them as I try to be intentional about where my money goes.

SLUNG BY Britt INTO Branding, Wordslinging, Observations, Messaging
AT 11:22 am on April 17, 2009  

new nation

Wordle tag cloud of Obama’s Inaug speech

John Cook at TechFlash writes about various web sites that allow you to search inside of Obama’s speech for words and phrases. He covers Delve Networks, Microsoft and CNN’s Photosynth, and ReadWriteWeb’s use of Wordle’s cloud tags of current and past speeches.

When developing tone and brand personalities, Wordle is a useful tool to help visualize and prioritize words.

SLUNG BY Britt INTO Branding, Wordslinging, Politics
AT 12:11 pm on January 21, 2009  

“We encounter each other in words…”

Ah, finally.

Thank you President Obama. Thank you Elizabeth Alexander.

The following is a transcript of the inaugural poem recited by Elizabeth Alexander, as provided by CQ transcriptions. (from The New York Times)

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’ eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, “Take out your pencils. Begin.”

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, “I need to see what’s on the other side; I know there’s something better down the road.”

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.

SLUNG BY Britt INTO Wordslinging, Politics
AT 1:54 pm on January 20, 2009  

Change, in transition

For marketers, brand managers, design directors, designers and anyone with a general interest in messaging strategy, I’m going to deconstruct the Obama campaign’s successful implementation of a single message.

I’ll start at the end, with Obama’s transition. The website is up. As expected, it’s brilliant in its simplicity and consistency.

More to come.

SLUNG BY Britt INTO Branding, Messaging, Politics
AT 11:56 am on November 10, 2008  

Verdant is the new green

While listening to NPR, I heard the sponsor’s spiel for the MacArthur Foundation:

“The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, we work to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.”

“Did I just hear the word ‘verdant’ in a pitch?”

Here’s why this impresses me:

1. “Green” has lost it’s power as an actionable word. There are green homes, green cars, green living, the green party, green jobs. It’s become as numbing as state-of-the-art, organic or 24/7. We read or listen over these words because we’re so used to encountering them. Verdant tips your muscle memory off balance. You feel it the next day. Verdant is a better green.

2. It takes guts to choose unique words. There are many bigwigs on the MacArthur Foundation’s staff and board. I’m sure they’re all smart and opinionated people. To be able to push through a mission statement like that is rare and remarkably savvy. This expresses the caliber of their organization and their mission.

3. They understand their audience. This is NPR. The people who listen likely know of the foundation through their genius awards, support it, and have a general sense of what verdant means. I frequently get push back on unorthodox word choices due to a marketer feeling they’ll lose their audience. Loquacious comes to mind. I once used that word instead of talkative. I admit it probably wasn’t appropriate for a product targeting middle-America consumers, but I feel my role is to push clients to use words and tone as a competitive differentiator.

And verdant is just one little word in a well-crafted mission statement. Other outstanding word choices are “effective,” “just” and “peaceful.” They’re also really showing their heart in the second sentence. These are some of the important themes our civilization is dealing with.

Also commendable is that they’re using their positioning consistently. Same language in the radio ads and annual report as on their website. I’d wager that their people have memorized this language and use it when asked about the foundation.

When I talk about the three questions you must answer compellingly when creating your positioning, this is exactly what I hope to hear. Way to go MacArthur Foundation!

SLUNG BY Britt INTO Branding
AT 4:55 pm on October 24, 2008  

VCs say messaging still important in tough economy

Jan: …With marketing dollars, invest only what can be measured and cut everything else; but now is time to be aggressive with company’s messaging—so PR and communications strategy important (can do a lot these days with relatively low investment). Focus on building out only the essential features of your product, forget the nice to haves; make certain that the features you build are what your customers actually want.

Greg: Getting funding is still a marketing exercise, but one that has to be done with integrity. As investors become more conservative, they will take more time to dig into your business. Nothing will send investors running faster than a sense that a founder/CEO has not been 100% truthful. I think the key is to get an investor to come over to your side of the table. Ask for advice. Don’t shy away from talking about challenges and issues. If an investor is truly interested in putting money to work in your business, he or she will want to engage at that level.

(from Alyssa Royse’s interview on Seattle 2.0 with VC’s Greg Gottesman of Madrona and Jan Hendrickson of Denny Hill Capital.)

SLUNG BY Britt INTO Branding
AT 9:23 am on October 16, 2008  

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