“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet
Have you ever come across a piece of digital content promoting or mentioning a brand that made you do a double take – and not in a favourable way? If you, like me, have experience in public relations or in the client service space, you will understand how detrimental the impact of bad online content, inappropriate hashtags, insensitive statements and copy with spelling errors can be on your clients’ brands’ reputations – it has the power to ruin good credentials in a matter of seconds!
A good example of great online content that not only curbed a possibly negative outcome, but also showed creativity and a bit of tongue-in-cheek empathy was Tesco’s perfect social media replies to a customer that bought a cucumber at one of their stores, only to realise that there was a worm in the packaging. The customer posted below complaint on Facebook:
Tesco’s team matched the tone of the customer’s posts perfectly. One of their responses included the following:
Although no copy could make up for William’s appearance, Tesco did several things right to, through spot-on content, create a positive spin on a post that could have seriously damaged their brand:
- First and foremost: They didn’t ignore the post.
- They didn’t do “knee-jerk” copy. They could easily have quickly posted a generic apology and offered a refund. This would have been the quick fix route to follow. Instead, they followed the customer’s example to match tone and banter. This showed that they appreciated the customer’s interaction and that they didn’t try to “talk down” to him.
- They showed great customer service through their personalised replies – and the customer made mention of this in one of his post.
According to boredpanda.com, the exchange between Tesco and the customer got more than 80 000 likes. Now, imagine if the content team didn’t put in as much thought as they did into the feedback copy?
The bottom line Brands have the right to great copy and copywriters need to realise that they are the brand custodians for their clients: compiling content that will represent their brands in the best possible way through on-brand content. So, in a nutshell, what course of action should you, the copywriter, take to ensure you produce great content that is relevant, engaging and on-point?
- Be attuned to the brands you are delivering content for and how these brands need to be positioned. Don’t assume – get the facts and shape your creativity around this.
- Be guided by the platforms where the content you are creating will exist. Short and punchy for Twitter, long-form blog posts or sharp-witted Facebook snapshots?
Last but not least: Don’t be sloppy. Having great ideas is one thing, but good execution will make the copy you curate for your clients a cut above the rest.