Branding, for branding’s sake, is dumb…
That’s the fundamental perspective I come from, as a direct marketer.
I’m not into brand-building. I’m not into image advertising. I believe that traditional “Madison Avenue”-style advertising is a complete waste of money.
And typically, the more “creative” a piece of advertising is — especially when judged by the advertising industry, via awards — the more likely I am to see it as outright fraud.
You wanna know how to create powerful “brand” copy?
Good news… Yes, I’m happy to answer that question. And aside from this curmudgeonly intro, I’ll try not to be too hard on branding.
As long as you remember: truly effective brand-building is a byproduct of your advertising generating a customer, and that customer having a great customer experience.
If you don’t get customers, or you deliver a bad customer experience, your brand is TRASH. (Here’s looking at you Spectrum… Or should I say, Time Warner?!)
Doesn’t matter how nice your logo, website, and stationary are. Doesn’t matter how creative your ads are.
Ultimately, your “brand” is the sum of all customers’ experience with your business.
Shall we dive into it then?
Remember, it’s Mailbox Monday, where I answer your questions about marketing, advertising, selling, copywriting, business-building, and more…
To have your question answered in an upcoming issue, email it to me at [email protected].
I really enjoy your daily e-mails and also recently joined BTMSinsiders and am getting a lot out of it.
Here is a question for Mailbox Monday:
I do digital marketing and copywriting, and I have a client that is a group practice in the mental health profession specializing in treatment-resistant depression (and I feel like they do meaningful, high integrity work in this area).
As part of my work with them, they want me to help them write a script for a brand video, like a brand/intro/promo video for the home page of the website that would be somewhere in the ballpark of two minutes…including their core message, the positioning, and maybe even a quick testimonial.
I have some ideas of how to do this, but I wanted to get some different ideas so I started looking for books, videos, courses etc. on how to script this type of video and couldn’t find all that much. I did find some blog articles that are reasonably helpful, but nothing more in-depth (I may well be missing some obvious resources, I don’t know).
Anyways, I thought I’d reach out to you to see what your thoughts are on this and how you would approach writing this kind of script.
To me what’s obvious so far is:
Keep it short, simple, and engaging and stick to one key point each in core areas such as positioning, emotion, CTA, etc.
Thank you Roy, I look forward to hearing from you if you’re able to respond.
David: first off, you’re on the right track!
Pretty much everything you’ve covered is in line with how I’d recommend you approach this.
Perhaps that’s because you’re coming from fundamentally the same spot as I would: a direct response marketer, creating a piece of copy that’s not explicitly for direct response.
That said, you’ve challenged me to answer your question, and I’ve put together a handful of notes that I believe will be helpful.
And, for what it’s worth, I once was challenged to create a video for almost this exact same purpose, and it was reasonably successful. Though it’s been a very long time, and it’s not immediately available for reference.
SIDEBAR: The best part of the experience of doing the video was the one-day round-trip to Seattle. Where, after recording was done, our ad agency rep introduced me to truly splendid Pinot Noir, expertly paired with our meal, at Matt’s in the Market, overlooking the iconic Pike Place Market. Copywriter and wine lover Ed Gandia would later tell me that your first good Pinot is like your first hit of heroin, you will go your entire life and spend ungodly sums trying to recreate that feeling…
But, back to the branding… 🙂
Every single piece of copy you ever create — even branding copy — should always start with this question…
What’s the next action?
That is, if someone watches this particular video, gets all the right feels from it, and wants to move forward, what does that look like?
This should inform your script. It should inform your presentation. It should inform everything you do and everything you put into the video.
If you’re not clear on this, your prospect will not be, either.
And it may not be a traditional “conversion,” especially if your client believes this is a branding video.
Rather, in your case I’d apply the principles of Value-First Marketing, and have a much more thorough introduction to how this group’s treatment process works as a separate document, such as a downloadable PDF.
This would allow you to have a very soft call-to-action incorporated into the branding video, that gave interested viewers a clear next action to learn more. Even if this was a simple slide at the end of the video, with an on-page “Learn More” link or button next to the video, it’d still be much better than leaving interested viewers with no clear next step.
Next, speak to the core problem or challenge of your market…
In your case, you benefit from a client who is ultra-focused. A more generic practice would actually be much harder to write for.
What you want to do is make sure you capture, in the prospect’s language, the feelings and the conversation going on in their head right now.
Why would a prospect seek your client out? Why would they land on this site? What are they thinking about? What are they looking for? What have they already researched? What do they know? What have they tried?
And, importantly, why has that not worked?
In your case, because this is a sensitive topic for many, I’d also make sure I was using a kind and gentle voice and tone.
Then, start to establish buying criteria…
While you’re not necessarily going to ask for “the sale” in this video, you can still use it to quickly establish buying criteria.
What questions should your prospect ask that lead to your client’s solution?
What important factors do they need to consider?
How will they know that your client’s solution is the best option?
The more you understand this, going into the video, the better you can use it to position your client’s solution as the first choice.
State your unique selling proposition…
Ultimately your prospect wants to know:
Why should I, your ideal customer/client, choose to do business with you, over every other option available to me, including going with a competitor, tackling this problem myself, or simply doing nothing?
The reason is probably in your client’s unique process, which I’m guessing is their application of today’s best practices in depression treatment.
They’ve specialized in this one area, which adds a layer of preference over choosing a generalist for this.
And, don’t forget…
In the case of a mental health practice, if the process is proprietary, you can still back it up with the research-backed methodologies that this process is based on.
I’d also consider including any special recognition the practice has received for their approach, as well as any significant treatment success statistics.
Testimonials, in this field, are tricky. However, if you have them, you can use them — just be mindful of patient privacy.
My biggest recommendation: Over-write, then edit…
75% or more of your time on this should likely be spent editing down your earliest drafts.
Open up the fire hose. Pile on all the reasons why someone should be interested and learn more.
Then, find a way to present those in as succinct a way as possible.
Again, I’d lean on the Value-First Funnel Strategy for this. Put together a piece of education-based marketing content that also includes a more direct CTA, such as scheduling a introductory consultation or an actual patient intake.
Then, narrow the message from that down to the high-level bullet points — an executive summary, if you will — that suggests you can get full information in the “patient guide.”
Those bullets become your video script, with a nice “non direct response” soft CTA to get more information.
Done right, you’re simply putting out stepping stones for qualified potential patients/clients to watch the video, learn more in the informational guide, and schedule their initial appointment.
Hope this helps!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,