Blog post image

Digi-mags, iPads, augmented reality – there are now more tools than ever at a marketeer's disposal. But with so much choice, how can brands stay true to their tone of voice?

Here are our three ‘best practice principles’ for writing for new media, without losing your brand’s personality.

Think ‘audience’

It’s proven that people read differently on screen to when the text is on the printed page. And, while iPads can offer a very immersive reading experience, they still lend themselves to a more dynamic, fast-paced environment.

So, when it comes to copywriting, the old rule remains true: keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Of course, keeping copy concise and conveying a warm tone can be a challenge.

The answer lies in understanding the reader’s ‘journey’ and creating little wins whenever possible. A headline that raises a smile, perhaps. Or a friendly sign-off after a list of bullet points.

Follow your guidelines

Most brands already have tone of voice guidelines. They may have been written with more traditional communications in mind, but the overarching thinking should remain the same, whatever the media.

When exploring new technologies, stay true to these guidelines and make sure your agency (and writer) is familiar with them.

Embrace the possibilities

New technologies blur the gap between the written word and things like video and music. Just look at the new ‘book’ A Singing Whale by author Ryu Murakami – the first iPad exclusive novel. Or some of the best digi-mags which blend moving video clips, sound and text.

Be open-minded and realise there are some things words can’t do alone. It’s when creative words are paired with equally creative technology, that really amazing things can happen.

Blog post image

Most people will admit to letting rip with a satisfying string of expletives after stubbing a toe or whacking a funny bone. But it’s been proven that swearing when we hurt ourselves can actually help to ease pain.

A study, which took place at Keele University, measured how long 64 students could keep their hands covered in ice-cold water.

During the exercise, half of the volunteers were asked to repeat an expletive while others had to choose a neutral word. When swearing, psychologists found that the students reported less pain and lasted longer in the cold water.

It’s not clear how or why cursing can lessen pain, but researchers think it’s because swearing triggers our natural 'fight-or-flight' response. Volunteers experienced faster heart rates which shows an increase in aggression; this is a classic fight-or-flight response in which a weakness or threat is downplayed in order to deal with it.

But, there is a catch. The study also found that using swear words a lot can dull their power as painkillers. So, for medicinal purposes, you might want to save your swearing for the next time you’re doing some DIY, and the hammer slips…

Blog post image

Every year the Oxford English Dictionary allows in a series of new words. And every year there are some which don’t quite make it. Here we look at some of the newbies and the no-hopers for 2010.

The following words are just some of the 39 which have entered the 2010 edition. So congratulations to…

Bromance: a close, but non-sexual relationship between two men. 

Cheeseball: someone or something lacking taste, style or originality.

Chillax: calm down or relax (man).

Climate change: which does now exist (in word form at least) whatever the sceptics may say.

Frenemy: a person with whom one is friendly, despite having a fundamental dislike or rivalry.

And this secret vault of words was rejected:

Earworm: a catchy tune that gets stuck in your head.

Furgling: the act of fumbling in your pocket for keys or loose change.

Nonversation: a worthless conversation, wherein nothing is explained or otherwise elaborated upon.

Smushables: items that must be packed at the top of a bag to avoid being squashed.

Sprogging: the act of running faster than a jog, but slower than a sprint.

Wurfing: the act of surfing the internet while at work.

But don’t despair, all is not lost. Fiona McPherson, senior editor of the OED’s new words group, said – “They are words we haven’t yet put in. I don’t like calling them reject words because we will revisit them at some point and they may well go in.

“They are not yet considered suitable for the dictionary because there’s not enough evidence people are using them.”

So perhaps if we all start furgling for money to pay for our smushables, they’ll be in the OED faster than a sprogger can say earworm.