Sales pitch

Pitch perfect – 9 tips for writing a knockout pitch

You’ve been invited through the door to strut your stuff. Or perhaps you’re responding to a tender request. Either way, you’ve got to tell a better story than the competition. Because coming second really sucks. What do clients want, really? Some clients make their requirements abundantly clear, others don’t, because they aren’t sure themselves. Be…

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The essential guide to thought leadership

Learn how to write your way to thought leadership – though, a word of warning: can you handle people wanting you just for your mind? No one remembers what you say unless it sounds interesting. Truth and facts won’t cut it – they’re not motivating or memorable. You’ve got to say something counterintuitive, something that contradicts…

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How much did Nike pay for ‘Just do it’?

Just do it: three one-syllable words – each one free and easy to find in the dictionary. I’ve spent hours searching for the dollar amount Nike invested in what is generally accepted as one of the best slogans of the 20th century. Nike founder Phil Knight was happy to throw money at professional athletes, but…

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Halftime advertising

It’s a tough job grabbing attention when the halftime whistle blows. Advertisers compete with selfies, beer queues, and bathrooms. If you’re really good, a few punters might entertain your message flashing on the stadium big screen. Apple certainly made a decent splash when they launched the Mac at the 1984 Super Bowl. Seven-figure production budgets…

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This month at Vernacular

Smart cities, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and … graphic concrete. It’s been a mixed bag of storytelling this month at Vernacular, made more palatable thanks to real-life users putting these rather abstract-sounding services through their paces. Seeing is believing, as they say. We helped client NEC promote its smart sensor technology, used by Wellington and…

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A good list is never boring

A list is a great device for identifying items found inside a dust covered shoe box that sits abandoned in the middle of a cold concrete basement floor in a boarded up house at the end of a cul-de-sac made famous when its widowed owner was eaten by her labradoodle, Pepsi… But generally lists do no…

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A cure for boredom

Readers are easily bored. What can a writer do? Read master editor Sol Stein’s book: Stein on Writing. Quite possibly the best book about writing you’re likely to read, ever. The cure? Appeal to your readers’ emotions. You’ve got to touch the reader’s emotions to keep them reading on, says Stein. Good writing immerses readers in…

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Apple fan

Make your story sell: Don’t tell them what – tell them why

So much for grabbing audience attention. When it’s your moment in the sun; your one big chance to woo potential investors with your big idea, tell them something they don’t know. Opening statements like this one are the kiss of death: “Technology is changing at a fantastic pace.” Three would-be investors listened stony-faced to the…

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Headline or click-bait? You won’t believe what happens next

Search optimisation enthusiasts claim a good headline must include keywords from the story to win favour with Google’s search engine. But fixating on key words produces dull and boring headlines. In which case no one will bother to click on your story, even when they find it. The best headlines involve a play on words,…

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Business branding: This month at Vernacular

When a local B2B tech company asked me to help rebrand their business I politely declined and suggested they engage a brand consultancy. But they persisted, saying their budget didn’t stretch that far and, in any case, my experience in B2B technology marketing qualified me for the job. Being a pushover, I accepted, knowing that I work…

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