The “always” in customer satisfaction

Being from Northern Colorado, I love the Human Bean coffee shop. Here’s why:

  • Their coffee drinks are consistently good
  • The staff is always friendly
  • They have drive-up service
  • I get a chocolate covered espresso bean on top, every time
  • They back up this goodness by donating generously to community causes

My Human Bean visits are a consistently positive experience. As marketers, we know that brand consistency builds brand loyalty. I’d add that brand sincerity does, too.

What do I mean by brand sincerity? They walk their talk. They don’t promise one thing and do another. They don’t fake a smile when they hand you your coffee to hide the stress they feel when cars are piling up behind you. They don’t give to various local causes simply to boost their marketing efforts. They don’t forget to make you feel special by placing that bonus bean on top.

Brand sincerity is a tricky thing, because you have to leave a positive impression every time you touch a customer, from the front door to the final transaction. The 17586583_1659281251047525_2502153972765163520_noutcome—that great cup of coffee—is most important, but customers decide who you are every step of the way. If you hit the mark each time, they’re yours to keep.

If you are in healthcare like many of our clients at Jet Marketing, you know consistency can be hard to achieve when a patient experiences 10 to 20 interactions in just one visit. Consider how many chances you have to be less than perfect: A patient sets an appointment, walks through the door, is greeted, sees a nurse or medical technician, sees a doctor, gets lab tests or imaging scans, gets a treatment plan, receives care instructions, checks out, receives a follow up call with results…and that’s all from one doctor visit. Imagine a hospital stay.

One grumpy interaction with staff or missed step along the way can result in a “usually” rather than an “always” on the HCAHPS patient satisfaction survey where healthcare customers rank their satisfaction on a scale of never, sometimes, usually and always. The only answer that generates full federal reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare for hospitals and clinics is “always,” the most desired box to check on the survey—hence, hospitals thrive or nosedive by their Top Box results.

How can a hospital that has dozens of outlying clinics and a long list of services deliver top care consistently? How can they maintain brand sincerity when so many fingers are in the patient pie? Here are some ideas:

  1. Choose a motto and give it meaning with action.
    For example, our client Campbell County Health in Gillette, Wyoming chose “Excellence Every Day” which they’ve integrated into their daily team huddles and process improvement efforts.
    Provide scripting for front-end staff, technicians and nurses.
  2. Regardless of what facility your patients call, they get the same greeting and warm response. Some of our hospitals have employed the acronym AIDIT, which stands for Acknowledge (by looking in their eyes, calling them by name), Introduce (say your name and what you will be doing for them), Duration (if there is a wait, tell them how long), Explanation (explain the procedure) and Thank you (for choosing us, for calling).
  3. Enlist volunteers to greet your patients at the front door and offer to walk them to their destination.
    Our client Montrose Memorial Hospital did this with excellence on our first visit—complete with a charming older gentlemen who linked arms with us and walked us to the marketing director’s door.Always Blog graphic
  4. Educate patients they will be receiving a patient satisfaction survey and ask them to fill it out.
    While you can’t ask patients to respond with an “always,” you can let them know you want to hear their feedback, and that it helps you improve and makes a difference with federal funding. With that said, don’t let the HCAHPs survey be the end-all goal. Patients are savvy. They recognize when staff are insincerely nice just to get good scores. At the end of the day, an “always” is achieved by consistent, genuine and positive experiences that create loyal customers who are convinced you are great and expect nothing less. In other words, they trust you to deliver that delicious bean on top.

 

3Lynn Nichols, Copywriter, Publication Specialist

Around the office, our copywriter has earned the facetious nickname of “Dr. Lynn” for her off-the-cuff diagnoses of team ailments from her years of healthcare writing.



The Unboxing Experience

Even if we don’t admit it, some of the same things that we were excited about as kids still give us the same feelings as adults. Online retailers finally figured this out and as marketers, we can tap into the same ideas and principals.

BirchboxIt’s the excitement and anticipation of opening a gift – even if we already know what’s inside. A curated and thoughtful un-boxing experience makes the consumer feel special and it increases the perceived value of their purchase. More and more companies are upping their game by shipping orders in colored or patterned boxes, carefully wrapping the items in fancy tissue paper or placing them in cloth bags, enclosing a personalized note or putting your receipt in a nice envelope. When you receive a package like this, you are excited to open it for more reasons than just the item inside.

We can apply this theme to many other aspects of marketing a business – even if the company does not offer something tangible. It’s the attention to detail and the element of surprise that can make the customer (or potential customer) feel special and elevate your brand.

Add a surprise to your next promotion to make your audience excited to dive in. This could add cost to your campaign, but if it draws attention and conversation, it is well worth it.

Business Card Example from Moo
Business Card Example from Moo

The possibilities are endless, but here are some examples to get the wheels turning: 

  • Design a direct mail piece with a unique shape or even put it in a padded envelope with a clever item that aligns with a campaign. Anthropologie’s birthday mailings are great inspiration.
  • Everyone loves a giveaway, and promotional items are a great way to boost brand awareness. Consider taking it to the next level by packaging it or surprising your audience with something unconventional. Jet Marketing recently branched
    Anthropologie
    Example of Anthropologie’s Birthday Mailing

    out with miniature chairs as part of a school health center campaign to keep students out of the nurse’s office and in their chairs.

  • Add foil or print your business card on a heavy or unique paper. Use an interesting pattern or quote on the reverse side of the card to invoke emotion.
  • Present a proposal or bid in a pocket folder or bind it in a unique way to make it memorable.

Keep it unexpected, interest the audience, and don’t forget your end goal. In an increasingly impersonal world, this mindset will add personal elements to your product or service. A plain brown box just doesn’t cut it anymore.

 

Katie O’Hara, Project Manager

Katie loves the challenge of finding ways to help clients stand out in a crowded world. She believes that finding inspiration in unlikely places is the key to great ideas.



A Publication to Love

They say people don’t read anymore.  We all have shortened attention spans, and we want more graphics and video— not text.

While I don’t disagree with these basic trends, I would encourage you (especially women) to pick up the most recent copy of Darling and reconsider the values you place on reading.

IMG_3374

Targeted to women of all ages and walks of life, this magazine is like no other that I’ve seen.  You’ll need a $20 bill, but if you don’t enjoy the format, the variety of stories, the photography, illustrations, graphic treatments and even the paper it’s printed on, I’ll reimburse you!

I so appreciate wandering through this publication that my husband started picking up for me each quarter.  With just a few artful advertisements in the opening pages, this publication does not have any other advertising.

Each story is well crafted and synchronized with effective type treatments and rich, often monochromatic photography. There is nothing “stock” about this perfectly bound and perfectly done publication.  In fact, editors at Darling embrace the raw, and real, non-photo shopped approach.

It’s artful and it makes me stop to spend a little time to feel the texture of the pages and listen to new perspectives or inspirations found within the covers.  It’s an exercise in mindfulness really.  This magazine doesn’t go out in my recycling pile, like most of my other magazines.  I keep them.  I treasure them.  I share them with others.

IMG_3388At Jet Marketing, our approach to many of our marketing campaigns employs strategies of less text and more graphics.  But we also create original newspaper article content, community newsletters and donor publications that get noticed.  While our publications are different than Darling, they are relevant, professional and they speak to a target audience with specific education or awareness goals.  Seem old-school?  Well maybe, but sometimes what is old is new.

I believe that people still do read – however, Darling reinforces the fact that a high-quality piece that is relevant and attractive helps your marketing or publication rise to the top and increases the likelihood of perceived value.

What’s your favorite item to read and why?  We’d love to hear from you.  In the meantime, pick up a copy of Darling, or stop by the office and I’m happy to share a back copy with you.

darlingmagazine.org

@darling on Instagram

facebook.com/DarlingMagazine

 

Jackie O’Hara, Owner/Account Executive/Strategist

As the “boss lady” at Jet Marketing, Jackie is usually struggling to find time for herself. But when she does, there is nothing like a glass of wine and immersing herself in the latest copy of Darling.

 



The Latest in Web Trends

webtrends

While recently researching the latest in web design for an upcoming project, we came across some surprising (and some not-so-surprising) trends and best practices for the new year and thought we’d share.

  1. Phase Out Sliders and Sidebars.

The slider (also known as a photo carousel) has been incredibly popular, but when looking for conversions and engaging your audience it’s best to steer clear. They are often a distraction that users skim right past. They don’t have the patience to wait for each message to appear, and even if they are interested, the message often automatically forwards to the next one before allowing the user to fully engage with the previous.

People think that if they cram as many messages as possible above the “fold”, they will maximize their impact. In reality, their message is diluted or ignored. Worse yet, people may click away from their site.

With mobile devices being the most widely used way users interact on the internet, a scrolling website is your best option. Users are accustomed to and actually expect to scroll through sites. Make the most impact by having a powerful image and succinct copy and a call to action as the first thing a user will see on your site. That will draw them in and encourage scrolling down to see more content.

Sidebars are similar to sliders –  often ignored.  You have extremely limited time to capture your audience’s attention, so don’t complicate it with more static  like a sidebar.

That’s not to say there isn’t a place for sliders and sidebars. Sliders are a great way to showcase your portfolio – but they certainly aren’t for every site, and they definitely don’t belong at the top of your homepage.

 

  1. Larger Fonts and Better Imagery.

This may seem like a no-brainer – but bigger fonts lead to bigger impact, especially when people are using mobile devices more and more. Readability is crucial. Keep the content succinct and to the point. A call to action is another helpful way to draw readers in and lead to conversions.

Having authentic, original imagery that occupies a large amount of real estate on your site is a great way to capture and hold attention. You don’t need  lots of images, just a few impactful ones. The human brain can process an image 60,000 times faster than text.* Having powerful imagery helps the viewer to understand much more quickly what you are trying to convey.

 

  1. Using Semi-Flat design vs. Flat design

Flat design is a style that has no glossy or three-dimensional visual effects. It became popular with the release of Microsoft’s Metro design language and Windows 8 in 2011, along with Apple’s homepage in 2013.** It focuses on minimalism in terms of design.

It used to be apparent to click when something was either blue, underlined, or had 3-D effects. With flat design, it became more difficult to detect linked elements. Therefore Semi-Flat design has evolved to correct these issues. It adds subtle depth and dimension with shadows and shading, which has helped to mitigate the issues of flat design.

While still maintaining the sharp and sophisticated look of a Flat design, Semi-Flat design can improve usability on your site, which in turn can lead to the all important conversion.

 

  1. Video is on the Rise.

While video has long been around, it is becoming more and more powerful as a tool for storytelling and marketing. It is compelling, instantly engaging and quickly draws in its audience. Including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%. *** And by 2020, video will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic.****

Video needs to load and play quickly, because impact is lost if a viewer is waiting for it to load. All you need to create compelling video content is a smartphone so get started today!

 

  1. Simplify Your Navigation.

Complicated navigation systems create way too many options for people and can actually drive them away. Having clear, concise labels that allow readers to know what is in each category provides better usability. For example, don’t use adjectives, instead pick short, predictable words. The easier it is for a reader to navigate your site, the more likely they are to stay and click around.

 

These are just a few of the many trends happening in web design, but we think they’re some of the most important.  They’ll help get you going in the right direction with staying on top of the latest strategies in excellent web design and presence.

 

Sources:

* http://www.business2community.com/digital-marketing/visual-marketing-pictures-worth-60000-words-01126256

** https://www.nngroup.com/articles/flat-design/

*** https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics#sm.000005pswuag36cweqpnrdp1zt26s

**** http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/complete-white-paper-c11-481360.html

ER headshot Erin Rogers, Creative Director at Jet Marketing

Erin enjoys a good, local coffee shop and family road trips.



Change Happens in Life and Marketing

It seems like change has been in the air, especially with the whirlwind of our recent presidential election. For me, being the newest member of Jet Marketing, change has been at the forefront of my most recent days. Starting a new job is filled with a tremendous amount of change. Every day presents me with new information and knowledge to internalize, analyze and sift through. For some, the changes that come with starting a new career can be rather intimidating. There is no denying that change comes with a certain amount of discomforts; however, if you remain steadfast in your pursuit and open to change, your extra effort will be sure to pay off.

Just as in life, change in business happens too. Because of this fact, your marketing should too. By remaining open and accepting of change, a company has a better chance of staying current and finding new opportunities. With the ever-changing times (and the high frequency in changing consumer tastes), it’s not a bad idea to evaluate your marketing strategy on an annual basis. Through consistent analysis you can effectively make adjustments needed to remain current and find new opportunities otherwise overlooked. You may find that there is a brand new resource or avenue that can help you better reach your target customer and ward off competitors. Maybe there is a new social media tool or B2B product that can boost your appeal?

A change in marketing strategy can also help you increase your product’s natural life cycle and respond to any outside factors that may arise. In an article in the small business section of The Houston Chronicle, entitled, “Why Is There a Constant Need for Change in Marketing?” it was suggested that small companies should change their marketing strategies during different stages of the product life cycle. For example, in some cases a company may be forced to lower the price of a product in order to stay competitive as the market expands. On the flip side a need for marketing change may arise from fluctuations in law, technologies, or reductions in resources. One example being the scarcity of cork in the wine industry.  Many wine producers are moving to alternate materials, such as, plastic and twist lids in order to combat the reduction and higher prices of cork.

In life and business change happens. Because change comes with a certain amount of discomforts it is a natural impulse to want to avoid it; however, it is imperative to remain steadfast in your pursuit and open to change. In the big picture, all of the discomforts due to change are only temporary and your extra effort will be sure to be rewarding.

Jet Staff photo_JHJenn Holm, Account Manager

Jenn has never been one to avoid the discomforts of change. She enjoys adventures both big and small and really, sometimes, what better adventure is there than challenge?



Marketing through Collaborations

Beer is a great way to bring people together on many levels. Craft beer has taken off not only in Colorado, but across the nation. There is a growing trend in brewing that is interesting to us marketers.

Screen Shot 2016-11-01 at 9.00.44 AM

Collaborations.

One way organizations and breweries are doing this is by having competitions to name or design a beer. By doing this, they are engaging people along every step of the way and generating a lot of PR. The brewery gets PR through the non-profit and vice-versa. In the age of social media, there is a huge potential for organic reach. Recently, United Way had a beer-naming contest to honor volunteers. Bonfils Blood Center teamed up with 6 breweries to create this seasonal 6-pack.
1744 Rockwell LabelThe Colorado State University College of Business collaborated with Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins to create a 50th Anniversary brew.  A naming and label design contest was put out to the community and alumni.  After narrowing it down the 4 finalists, market research was conducted to choose one design.  Jet Marketing’s team was a finalist for this contest.  It was a great exercise in the science of naming and branding  – it was a fun project for everyone involved.

Jet was also involved in a more spontaneous beer-naming project.  What started out as a Father’s Day gift for my dad, Tim, turned into a tasty collaboration to commemorate the last year of Colorado State University’s Hughes Stadium.   I came up with the name “Harry Hughes’ Aggie Ale” and with the help of our amazing designer, Erin, we had a beer label and tap handle.  The thought was to use the tap and the stickers at my parents’ infamous tailgate parties – no matter what the actual beer on tap was.  Then local brewery, Horse & Dragon got wind of the project.  We now have a real beer and it has been enjoyed by beer lovers throughout Colorado.

Obviously Fort Collins is a great spot for collaborations with it’s hot bed of breweries.  But just think of the possibilities of collaborative marketing across other types of business and non-profits.  It is great inspiration for feel-good marketing that people will be genuinely interested in. Microsoft Word - Aggie Ale.docx

Katie O’Hara, Project Manager

Katie is a huge fan of local businesses and loves the opportunity to work with them. The creative collaboration that arises from these opportunities is fun and inspiring, and produces incredible results. 



Dress for the Magnet ® Designation You Want

Remember when you were first learning how to put together a resume? Or how to prepare for a job interview? One of the first lessons we learn about presenting ourselves professionally is that we have to look good, whether that’s on paper or in person. Like the old adage says, dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

Magnet_Baylor2As marketers, we know the power of presentation. A new logo change can completely elevate a brand. Professional collateral will confirm that you know what you’re talking about. No matter what anyone says, presentation of your brand matters.

The same thing goes for applying for Magnet ® designation. Applying for Magnet is in itself a journey of continual improvement within the organization — winning the designation can help set you apart when it comes to consumer choices and recruiting quality nurses and physicians.  The designation is a marketing tool as much as it is a sign of excellence in nursing.

Achieving Magnet designation can seem like a chore for your nursing staff. There’s an overwhelming amount of data and narrative that has to be gathered. We’ve heard the process described as herding cats. And often, the presentation of a program’s Magnet application can be passed by the wayside because there is so much to do.

But because achieving Magnet status is still part of building your brand, here’s why you need to focus on the presentation of your application. Design and usability aren’t factors you can ignore in your application – they can make or break you.

Easy to Read

Nothing is more frustrating or intimidating than thick blocks of text. They’re impenetrable and discouraging to read. If your appraiser is frustrated trying to read your application, your content isn’t going to speak for itself. Your application needs to have clear headers, sub-heads, and paragraphs to ensure that your appraiser can consume your application in manageable bites.Jet Magnet page image

Navigation

Moving through your content is another important piece. Your application is full of information, and an appraiser needs to be able to find what they are looking for quickly, whether that’s a specific section or just clicking on a link. And more importantly – your navigation tools need to work. Links need to be functional and take you to the correct document. Transitioning from one section of your application to the next needs to be smooth and intuitive.

Professional Presentation

Appraisers might say they are just looking for your information, but imagine if that information is also esthetically pleasing and professionally presented. There’s just something different about a document that is formatted nicely than one that is cobbled together. How will you feel showing the application as a reflection of your efforts?

Your organization is amazing – otherwise you wouldn’t be applying for Magnet status. It matters how your application looks – it’s going to go the extra mile for you. We respect your team, your brand, and the people in your organization creating that brand – including your nursing staff. With our unique talents, we can help you get there.
Our unique Magnet® Electronic Submission Tool hits all the points on the list. We can create a custom, clickable, off-line website of your submission design expressly for Magnet appraisers. With our tool, you’re going to look every bit as deserving of Magnet status as you are.

Call today about the Jet Magnet® Electronic Submission Tool. We’d be more than happy to give you a demo.



#Horsepower: How the Denver Broncos Play the Social Media Game

I may be biased, but some of my favorite social media accounts are run by the Denver Broncos.

The NFL and its teams are all spread out across social media platforms, utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat. Social media allows NFL teams to engage their fans on a daily basis, providing footage of practice that day, interviews with players, interviews with coaches, and more. More than ever, fans know what is going on with their favorite team in real time. Because the NFL teams use social media in this way, the fans feel involved and more invested in their team. They even have the opportunity to engage with their favorite players on a personal level.

All of this leads to increased engagement from their fans. Today, when people watch TV, they are often also on their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Being on social media allows the NFL to capture their attention outside of just the television.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.37.24 AM
Facebook

Here’s what I love about the Broncos’ social media accounts.

 They know how to use their platforms correctly.

Often, social media users think platforms are interchangeable, but they really aren’t. People use different platforms for different reasons. Facebook is still king of social media, but Twitter and Instagram are growing in importance, and from a branding perspective, Snapchat can be pretty invaluable. While the Broncos sometimes share the same posts across different platforms, each platform also has unique content. This is important because having different content on different platforms ensures that your followers are following you everywhere. It provides different angles to your brand.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 2.16.05 PM
Instagram

 They focus on their people.

Fans care about the players on the team, and the Broncos do a good job of focusing on their players through their various platforms. They share articles and photos about the players and coaches. And the Broncos don’t only focus on current players, but players from the Broncos’ rich history, like John Elway and Coach Kubiak back in his playing days. They share every aspect of the team – including the mascot and the cheerleaders.

IMG_8726
Snapchat

This area is where the Broncos’ Instagram and Snapchat shine. They show-off the unique personality of their players, like Von Miller’s unique style and Emmanuel Sanders’ dedication to the fans. It’s especially great when they feature the fans – making them a part of the Broncos team as well. Their Snapchat stories show off daily life for the Broncos. They snap the players at practice, and interview them and the coaches. They have players “take over” the platform, giving their feed a shot of personality. Both of these platforms are great ways to engage their audience, especially their younger fans.

They are all about their brand, and make updates where they’re needed.

Of course, if you look at the page, Broncos blue and orange is everywhere. They tout the history of the organization. But even more interesting now is their creation of a new hashtag. The Broncos used the #UnitedinOrange in 2015 and before that, but they have a new hashtag out – #Horsepower. To me, this hashtag suggests a reinvigorating of the brand. They already have unity with their fans – now they’re about moving into the future. With #UnitedinOrange, the Broncos were gathering strength. Now they’re on the move, and so the brand has to be as well. The Broncos demonstrate that it’s important to evaluate your messaging, and make sure it’s still what you want to be projecting.

Their content is regular and frequent.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.36.53 AM
Twitter

The Broncos know how to give hungry fans what they want – more and more information about players, upcoming games, and strategies. Each account posts several times a day, and the content is relevant. They live-tweet/post during games, ensuring that fans who aren’t able to make it to a television can still participate and know what is going on. They also post a lot of video – showing incredible plays and what is going on in practice. Because they are posting frequently about what their fans care about, the Broncos are able to drive a lot of engagement on each post.

There’s a lot to learn from the Broncos and their social media accounts, especially regarding the specific use of social media platforms. Consider their social media playbook, run through a few plays, and you too can be a social media champion.

Go Broncos!
Kirsten Queen, Project Manager at Jet Marketing

Kirsten is proud to wear that #18 jersey, and has her fingers crossed for a great season for the Denver Broncos.



The Power of the Personal Story (and how to secure your own stories to highlight your brand)

I admit it – I’m a fan of The Voice and a few other mindless talent shows on television.  Sometimes I find myself choked up, all because of the heart wrenching stories told about the lives of the contestants.  Logically I know why they pick the most dramatic story lines – but emotionally, I’m hooked.

Turns out there is nothing like a good story.

A recent Forbes article titled The Power of Story explains, “. . .we are wired for interpersonal connections and put more stock in ideas that result from personal contact than from hard data.  Essentially, we internalize stories much better than we do facts.”*

In marketing, when others say good things about your products and services the message has much more credibility and longevity than mere description.  It takes work to procure real stories, but it’s worth it!

Always be Mining for Stories

Encourage friends, neighbors, family and staff members to share stories that reflect your organization or product in a good light. Remind them often, especially staff members. Follow up with unsolicited notes of thanks and social media posts to see if there is a lead and a willing storytelling participant.

Give People Something tScreen Shot 2016-08-01 at 9.44.50 AMo Talk About

Create a community event that encourages storytelling.  For one of our hospital clients, we created a community birthday party.  We invited all 10,000 babies that had been born in the community over the past 60+ years to come and be recognized. Lots of photos were taken, both pre- and post-event, and the community conversation about how the town has changed was robust.  It was a very positive image booster for the hospital and we shared photos in their community newsletter, social media outlets and print.

Another fantastic example is Heathrow Airport in London. They are using their 70th birthday to gather stories, encouraging anyone to share memories of time spent at the airport over those 70 years.  If you get a chance, it’s a GREAT read.

 www.heathrow.com/Stories

These types of campaigns encourage people to connect to a brand and to reflect on the ways that brand has impacted and influence their lives. By invoking nostalgia and encouraging people to reflect on their own memories connected to that brand, the outcome is positive feelings towards that brand.

Photos are Key!

We are all drawn to photos – especially ones with faces in them.  Professional or candid, make sure you have a photo to go along with the story.  Like they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Be Transparent about Your Intentions

Don’t overplay or underplay what your intentions are.  If you have a story and a photo, be clear about the types of media you plan to use.  Don’t tell the storyteller it will only be a print ad and then later they see themselves on a billboard.  Keep the storyteller involved and make sure to give them the opportunity to approve materials.  Then stick to your word, otherwise the positive engagement could turn into a negative one.

I hear all the time that people don’t read anymore, and while I think that’s true to a certain extent, I do believe that we still like to read, hear and listen to a good human story.

The Power of the Story, published on Forbes.com

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2015/08/22/the-power-of-story/#77bdf25e5c95

 

Jackie O’Hara, Owner/Account Executive/Strategist

This summer, Jackie has enjoyed listening to friends tell stories around the campfire, working on home and yard remodeling projects, and sneaking in a few rounds of golf with her husband (the real storyteller of the family).

 



Heat things up with great headlines

Nothing cranks the heat up like being asked to write an ad headline, tagline or new campaign slogan. Essentially, you’re being asked to deliver your client’s brand message in 5 words or less—and make it something that motivates people to want to read on and take action, please. Just thinking about it makes my face flush.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the challenge. But I don’t take the words of David Ogilvy, hailed as the “father of advertising,” lightly when he says: “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Now you understand the rising blood pressure and red face. To make it easier, I follow a few rules and apply a trick or two. If my headline doesn’t fulfill at least one of these, I know my coffee break has to wait.

1. Does it make an instant impact?

The best headlines, slogans & taglines show personality. They’re clever and maybe even shock or surprise. Take the healthy, real fruit drink alternative, Bai. When launched in 2014 the ad agency went to town creating slogans that were so racy they even had articles written about them. Billboards in Time Square simply showed a picture of the bottle with the following slogan:

Tell your taste buds to stop sexting us

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 1.17.20 PM

Other headlines included:

Flavor that goes all the way on the first date,” and, “Wet. Juicy. Ready. But not in that way,” and, “Naturally sweet. Unlike most men.”

The one that survived the test of time and is on their products today, is:

“Flavor so fresh you want to slap it”.

Talk about instant impact.

2. Does it make your brain do a flip?

A great technique for writing clever headlines is to simply take a cliché and turn it on its head, or apply it to a new situation. The July 2016 issue of O Magazine has some good examples. In an article on no-cook summer recipes, they use the following subheads:

Grain and Simple

Sandwich Generation

Salad Swap Meet

Fit to a Tea

3. Does it make you want to read on?

Not all topics are easy to promote. For example, colonoscopies can be a hard sell. A good trick here is to play on words but also get across the expertise of your client, as in:

Our cardiologists never miss a beat

Or you can go for shock combined with a message of “we care” as the Gastroenterology Associates of Colorado Springs recently did with:

Up Yours, and we mean that sincerely”

Now maybe it’s your face that’s turning red.


3Lynn U. Nichols, Copywriter/Publications Specialist at Jet Marketing

In her spare time, Lynn enjoys reading, running, kayaking and staying young by hanging out with her teenage boys.