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Tea and cake, Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, Mario and Luigi… history is more than peppered with great pairings. Let nothing come between them, till death do they part, and so on. To the list, we’d add strategy and words. Romantic? Maybe not. Necessary, intertwined, inseparable? Absolutely.

The S&T view on strategy and words is no secret. And here are just a few of the traits that unite writers and strategists:

They’re great observers of things: Just as the writer will jot down snippets of bus conversations for their inspiration bank, the strategist will be looking over people’s shoulders to see what’s in their supermarket basket. Behind it all is a restless drive to understand what makes different people tick.

Clarity is king: Both share the knack of finding a way to say things that nobody else could think of, but everyone gets. The strategist’s job is to simply and clearly articulate an idea, because if you can’t do that, then you can’t expect anyone else to get it either. And the writer’s is to find a way to take that thinking and turn it into something that says it all, without spelling it out.

Kill your darlings: Getting to the right strategy and getting to the right words mean doing the same thing: killing a lot of your ideas. For every one that sticks, there are a hundred that don’t. And sometimes you have to ditch the ones you love the most in your quest for the right one.

Write, rewrite and write again: Nailing the idea is only half of it. The next marathon is to keep on writing, writing, refining, refining, until you get to that perfect expression. (Disclaimer: we’ve never met a writer who actually thinks their work is finished. You have to wrestle the paper from their hands and or they’ll keep editing till the end of time.)

The strategy-writing chicken and egg: A good strategy needs great words to make sense. And it needs to inspire great words to be created as a result. One can’t exist without the other. Just as great creative needs tireless thinking to drive it, great thinking needs tireless creative to bring it to life.
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“ can say actions speak louder than words. But here’s the thing, words act louder than actions. Words lead to actions and they tell the stories of those actions - words are the brains and memories of actions.”

― Mark Pollard
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Who’d a thought you could love sending and sharing big files, but here we are, loving WeTransfer. Why? Because they’ve nailed their brand, understanding that most of the people using their service are creatives, and that the blood, sweat and late nights that go into creative work deserve a slick, seamless experience with a bit of style and personality.

We had a chat with Robyn Collinge, one of their senior copywriters, to get to the nub of their brand strategy and how that plays out in their writing. B2B, B2C and breaking down business jargon – it’s all in a day’s work (and play).

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We know that good writing starts with clear thinking, and that happy marriage was made when we worked with our friends at Wild Nutrition to build their brand world. We went from the strategic start-point of nature-powered nutrition for women’s health, to a force of nature tone with words you can feel, not just read. So powerful that our wonderful writer Rae was lauded for her work at the Women in Marketing Awards.

Find a brand whose words you love. What do you think was the strategy behind it all? Can you express it in a line?

Hit reply to submit your prompt


Read, Scroll, Listen
Stuck for words? Make like David Bowie to get yourself out of a rut.
Get caught up in crisscrossing ideas with Dave Trott’s latest book.
Essential reading: 100 tips from a BBH strategist.
Just in: new research into the case for the four-day working week.

Browse our page to see what the team is reading and a few of our favourite brand and copywriting books. When you buy from you're supporting independent bookstores. And we're donating the 10% affiliate cut from our store to BookTrust, the UK's largest children's reading charity. 

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