How to Persuade a Prospective Client of the Importance of Verbal Identity- Take Them Out For Lunch
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Chapter 3: Lunch at The Ivy? No, at a burger bar. Far more effective.
Chris West’s almost truth-lite blog about blowing off old advertising to start a new business in social media.
Just before I wrote this, I had to wipe ketchup off my fingers and a smirk off my face.
When you’re trying to persuade potential clients of the importance of verbal identity in social media, you have two big challenges: what they know about social media (some, not much), and what they know about verbal identity (not even not much).
I got one prospective client, a nice guy with a lovely budget, to agree to hear me out, over lunch.
With a lunch of this importance, where do you go to convert? The Ivy?
No, all the old ad guys are still clogging the doors of The Ivy. Or sitting in corners trying to cop off with their PAs.
Instead, I invited him to Meat Liquor. London’s hottest, hippest new restaurant. It’s a grungy burger bar stuffed in underneath one of London’s most depressing concrete car parks.
The meat’s fantastic. The decor looks like Jackson Pollock binged on drink, paint, meths and newspaper spliffs for 72 hours then threw it all up into a pail (and I mean that in an entirely complementary way).
But the best bit of all is the menu.
As he sat down, my choice of location had provoked him into firing off questions. “What do you mean that the first experience of a brand is how the brand writes about itself? What’s the point of spending money on good writing, who even notices it?” … then he picked up the menu and shut up.
And stayed silent.
Then he smiled.
Because the menu at Meat Liquor is so well written it answered all his questions for me. Here’s how they describe the Argento Malbec: “…it’s a cracking wine for just necking and giving you red teeth.”. The Velvet Devil Merlot is described as ‘tasting much posher than you would expect, ” which is the most persuasive way of writing ‘value-for-money’ that I’ve ever read.
There wasn’t a better way of showing him, that, yes, good writing can do more than explain the brand, it can win the reader over before they’ve even experienced the brand.
In fact he liked the menu so much, he pocketed a copy of it.
I’m just waiting now, to see whether he’d have preferred to be serenaded rather than persuaded.
At the end of 2011, Chris West founded a verbal identity consultancy and after much deliberation decided to call it “Verbal Identity.” After much more deliberation, he bough the domain name www.verbalidentity.co.uk, where he blogs and muses and persuades the world of the importance of brand narrative, naming and tone of voice when you’re building a brand.
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