We all read them, or at least glaze over in their direction occasionally. Those tidbits of copy that lurk in the small spaces (or “nooks and crannies” as Nick Parker of The Writer likes to call them) of our websites, privacy policies, email signatures, employee forms and other typically dry places.
These tiny pieces of overlooked copy are actually wonderful places to build your brand.
In his recent Guardian article “How brands can build engagement though unexpected writing,” Parker gives a great example:
“Puccino’s coffee outlets are terrific, and use their nooks and crannies to mock the whole idea of taking coffee too seriously. They renamed their ‘Still’ and ‘Sparkling’ mineral water ‘Flat’ and ‘Bumpy’; the complimentary biscuit is labelled ‘Stupid little biscuit’; and their recruitment ads used to start ‘Hi, I’m Luigi, the fictional head of Puccino’s coffee.’”
Even a conservative institution like First Direct has stepped up its voice, changing “Calls may be monitored for training purposes” to “Because we want to make sure we’re doing a good job, we may monitor or record our calls. We hope you don’t mind.”
Not earthshattering, sure, but hey, they’re a bank! Give them some credit.
The beauty behind this kind of tidbit writing for humans is the emotional connection it builds. Fans of Soap & Glory regularly post photos of their soap bottles and their wry witticisms. It makes them feel good, and they want to share it.
Why does it work? Because these companies understand that it’s not what you say, but how you make the reader feel that matters. And if a reader feels like you are talking just to them, with a wink and a nod, you’re engaged.