Geoffrey Stackhouse, Managing Director, Clarity Solutions
A business story on internet start-up “My Food Bag” caught my eye this week. It was a great read - not for its ‘me too’ concept or celebrity investors - but because of an amazing pull quote that jumped off the page and into my brain.
"It's a product I love, in a country I adore, with people I like”, and was followed by “Substantial, significant and confidential”.
Great stuff, and clearly the words of someone who gets the power of three.
But analysing the 730 word article, I realised an astonishing 49 per cent of it was quotes. And all of them irresistible and strategic key messages.
There was only one quote from a competitor “Hello Fresh”, which bizarrely praised My Food Bag.
Comparing that to similar business stories in that publication, quotes accounted for 20-29 per cent of the copy, and they were shared between multiple sources.
Digging deeper and reviewing other coverage of My Food Bag, the quote to copy ratio averaged around 20 per cent.
When your quotes dominate a story they are influencing the way a reporter tells the story, and that's a good thing for you and your brand.
Assuming you are ‘on message’ the reader must be influenced and the article will shape the way he or she sees the world. Full marks to our media maestro who understood what the reporter needed.
You can read the full story here, but it won't surprise you to discover that this master of media is a communication Guru - former Saatchi & Saatchi Global CEO Kevin Roberts.
Kevin’s clearly a man who knows his way around a key message and is not afraid to show it.
His quotablility alone has turned this story from the predictable “Former executive invests in ‘me too’ start up” to the astonishing “Brand Guru starts the next Amazon and iTunes”.
And yes, his business was compared to those brands in the story - awesome positioning for an undistinguished new entrant in a crowded market.
No matter how good your PR people and how clever your strategy, unless you can deliver the goods in an interview you may as well hand out $100 notes in Martin Place for all the influence it will have over your brand and reputation.
Great spokespeople aren't born, they're trained. So if you want to kill it like Kevin, build these quick tips into your communication:
Make it sparkle
An unusual word is like sand on the beach – it hangs around long after you’ve moved on. I love “… cooking is the new Macho ... it’s the Zeitgeist … take the pain points away…”.
Bond with your audience
Kevin refers to shopping at Bondi Junction and cooking for his children – carefully chosen examples to connect him to his prospective customers. Brilliant stuff, especially since the cynic in me wonders how much of that this 65-year-old super CEO has time for given his $2 million a year salary (for the last 17 years) and $2 million stock bonus last year alone.
Use the triple whammy
A pattern of three is incredibly quotable – try three powerful words that stand alone, or repeating a word or a concept three times. Kevin’s killer twist on this rule is his clever wordplay dropping from ‘Love’, to ‘Adore’ to ‘Like’ which adds new depth to an old trick.