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TMI? Is Less Really More?
By: Mona Sabbah
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How much information is too much information? As a copywriter, I’m asked to write on a wide variety of subjects, from dentures to airlines to bull riding and nail fungus. Before starting a project, I’m in what I call the gathering phase. I’m trying to get information on the subject at hand. Sometimes I talk to clients, sometimes I review their past marketing materials, and other times I’ll interview colleagues. The key, I find, is to have the right questions, so as to uncover the right insights.

Personally, I don’t stay in the gathering phase too long. I like to know enough, but not everything. If the project is a more creative one, say creating a television commercial or an entire print campaign involving ads at various points of communication, then I tend not to see the past work. I may look at the competition, just to know what’s being done in the industry.

So what type of information am I looking to devour when approaching a new project? Facts and figures are one. Numbers, statistics, and truths can help uncover a nugget that can become the backbone of the ad. But as any creative knows, the features aren’t the benefits. That’s why I try to get information from people who have experienced the product or the service themselves. Straight from the horse’s mouth, as they say.

An experience involves feelings, opinions, perspectives; things facts can’t translate. So if there’s no one to talk to, I’ll go onto forums and participate in a few exchanges. Reviews work well too, just make sure they’re credible. When it comes to certain details, I choose to remain ignorant. Fresh eyes are hard to come by if you literally know it all.

In the end, I think a little mystery can go a really long way in helping uncover the magic behind a brand.


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About the Author
Mona Sabbah is a Senior Copywriter/Creative Director with over 12 years of experience writing for print, TV, radio, and online. Mona has worked on a number of accounts from The Florida Lottery to Air Canada and Keiser University. You can see some of her work at http://www.miamicopywriter.com/. Find her on Twitter at @miamicopywriter.
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