We’re switching up the format for “A Linking Mess.” This week, Shela Ward and Paul Johnson (members of our Creative Services team) both weigh in on two articles that made the rounds in social media recently.
The A-Z of everything that’s wrong with B2B creative – Steve Ballantyne via slideshare.com
Shela: I write a lot of B2B copy on a daily basis, and I’m guilty of a lot of the “wrongs” mentioned in this article. Some of them are totally my bad – I have a soft spot for puns and I tend to struggle with “quick & dirty” brevity (my writing tends to get pretty verbose, from time to time, if you haven’t noticed – examples of my loquaciousness can be found in any of the guest blogs I’ve written here).
But, reading through this list, I can’t help feeling that some of it is just part of the job. Without getting into specifics, I’ve seen some great, out-of-the-ordinary ideas shot down for being too “out there.” And I’ve been given long lists of product benefits to cram into an ad, leaving me little space for creativity.
So, I guess my point is that I agree that the majority of “wrongs” in this list need to be done away with (though you’ll have to pry my puns from my cold, dead hands), but I don’t see a shift happening any time soon. To get away from this type of creative, it would take changing the mindset of everyone from writer to designer to client. And change, unfortunately, does not come easily.
Paul: I very much side with Shela “Mad Dog” Ward. These “wrongs” are committed every single day in the B2B arena, and I doubt less swivel mechanisms or whatever are being sold because of it. And anyway, in most instances there is very little that a writer or designer can do about it. If the client wants to include all the product’s features and benefits in an ad, we do it. So yeah, I’d like to blame clients for a lot of the sins I commit.
As for buzzwords, I hate them, too, but they became buzzwords for a reason – they might be the easiest and most familiar way to describe something. Like “user-friendly.” Should I avoid that term and write something like, “positive user experience”? That sounds even more pretentious and jargon-y.
Shela: I have to disagree with a lot of the points in this article. By now, it’s pretty much common knowledge that sleep is good for your brain, so I won’t debate that one. But this article also touches on the subjects of internet usage, multitasking, and mindfulness.
The author says multitasking, especially regarding the internet, makes people less productive. Maybe it’s because I’m in a creative field, but multitasking is the only way I get through the day. When I’m trying to find the right word or phrase, I find that switching to another task (or distracting myself with a good cat gif) really helps me get new/better ideas. It’s the shower principle – your best ideas can come to you when you’re focused on something else. I think if I were forced to focus on one thing for a specific amount of time, without any distractions, I would not only be less productive, I’d be less creative, too.
Paul: I’m going to disagree a bit with Shela. I’ve read so many articles about how multitasking, partly due to smartphone use, is making us less efficient. I completely buy the argument. The question is what each of us can do to avoid the associated problems.
At work, as Shela noted, it would impossible to get through the day. I can’t remember the last time I was able to focus on one task all the way to completion (I’ve done about four different things since I started writing this). But the author mentions switching from Twitter to Facebook to reading an article, which sounds like a social media problem, not a multitasking one. But, as a final note, I’ll admit that I’m one of those people who regularly looks at their phone while watching TV.