internet video conference with friends

It there was a prize for the most hated phrase of the year, I’ll happily bet you a socially distanced pint that “The new normal” would walk any public vote. I think the level of hatred is justified for two reasons: 1) It’s overuse in absolutely everything, from B2B marketing, to signs in your local pub 2) It’s incredibly depressing – basically you’re saying what you are experiencing now (which is invariably worse than what went before) is here, without an end date, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Positivity matters

So, how do you express that things are different right now, but in a positive way that makes people want to engage, rather than resent?

We’ve been experimenting with the language used in many of our campaigns – emphasising the positives of now and avoiding the negatives. We’ve seen lifts in performance when thinking this way – from highlighting outside space in property headlines, to articles explaining the many reasons why you shouldn’t wait to start a university course – keeping it positive: what CAN you do right now, rather than what you can’t.

Looking forward, not back

Many recent campaigns have chosen to focus on what we’ve been missing these past few months. The now notorious Detol ads were positive in their tone, they just mistook some of the things we really cared for – turns out we didn’t really miss many features of office life! I’d also argue that we’re now at a point where copy should be looking forward, rather than back, at a period of time many of us would rather forget. Here’s a more forward-looking campaign running now for LNER:

LNER Advert - Dad with son at BBQ

They stray dangerously close to the NN with the use of the word normal, but this feels warm, rather than annoying. YES! I am ready for a BBQ with my Dad – great, something genuinely good to look forward to.

Christmas is coming

There’s no doubt Christmas is going to look quite different this year and brands are going to have to negotiate a tight line between celebration, and the realisation that we are still very much in the middle of a global pandemic. When thinking about Christmas 2020 content, here’s three things to consider:

1. Look forward, not back. People are understandably fed up

2. Think about what people want right now. Family trumps consumerism – research from Havas found that nearly half of all shoppers it surveyed in the UK cared less about Black Friday this year

3. How can your product or service make someone’s life better? Give reasons to be optimistic.

Here’s to looking forward to all the good stuff!

Author James Murphy

More posts by James Murphy

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