Excitement is More Than Exclamation Points

Scott: Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012 1:24 PM

In one of my first jobs out of school as an advertising copywriter, I was working on a newspaper ad for a local car dealership and having a bit of writer’s block.  My boss looked at the ad and said, “It’s not really exciting.”  “Hmmmm, what should we do?” I inquired.  My boss thought for a moment and said, “Add exclamation points.”

I was young (and I needed the money) so I went about adding not one, but two totally awesome exclamation points and the ad turned out ok, but it struck me then as it does now that making your company exciting has a heck of a lot more to do with market positioning than punctuation.

Also, what makes your company exciting depends a lot of who is receiving the message.  For example, making the St. Louis Cardinals exciting for STL fans is pretty easy and while not completely automatic, it would take a lot of missteps to screw it up.

But how do you make something entirely new exciting for an audience that:

a) doesn’t know about it (thus the “new” part)
b) doesn’t know they might need it
c) is distracted beyond belief looking at all the exclamation points out there

Your best friend here is the most unexciting thing you ever thought of: research.  Research tells you that stuff that guides your little creative mind in the right direction to deliver an exciting value proposition.  Without it, you’re guessing and I try not to guess in business when it can be avoided.

These days when I have writer’s block about a client issue or creative direction, I return to my old boring friend research.  Spreadsheets, comment forms, analysis, even peeking in on Twitter conversations sorted by keywords or just old-fashioned talking to the target audience and asking good questions.  She’s not sexy, but the ol’ gal research delivers excitement to your marketing campaign like nothing else.

So the next time you’re tempted to fake it by adding ridiculous, unnecessary punctuation to your copy to make it “exciting,” stop to consider that maybe it’s not, but could be if you inject the right amount of thought and creativity into it.

COOL, RIGHT!!!!!  (sorry, had to)