Is copywriting an art or a science? | DMA

Another Tuesday evening, another Future Writers’ Lab complete. This time, Debi invited her guest Rupert Tebb, a behavioural scientist, to join her in an evening of inspiration, experiments and hands-on activities around the theme, 'Art v science'.

First up, Rupert did the ‘science bit’ (congratulations to L’Oreal’s copywriter for getting that into the culture!). Drawing on his learnings with UCL’s Centre for Behaviour Change, he explored five of the behavioural change techniques which copywriters can use to inform and influence.

For each, he shared practical tools they could use every day, as well as case studies demonstrating how copywriters are using them in the real world to rewrite brand stories and customer experiences for the future.

Next, Debi invited us to discover the lost art of copywriting. Drawing on the RNLI ‘Mystery Packages’ campaign, which won around 30 awards, she challenged us to identify the principles and techniques that inspired seven vloggers to not only read their ‘letters’ to a million teenagers across seven countries, but rally them to respond.

Seven of the learnings that I took away:

Don’t resort to the tricks, tactics and manipulation, just be authentic and build on truth

Create a shared vision that aligns the values of both the brand and the customer

Don’t just talk about issues that affect the customer, empower them through the brand to make their lives better

Make the conversation about them and what they value, not your brand

Don’t just talk to the person you’re talking to, but the people they’re talking to

Use the power of now to drive meaningful conversations and motivate timely action

Make it simple, quick and convenient to respond in their own way

If I had time, I’d tell you about the ‘Art v science’ experiments which followed, which involved popping candy, red onion rings, Play Doh, table salt and Marmite.

But, alas, I don’t.

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