Knowledge Bank Blog, Shopper Communication

Shopper Communication: Our Golden Rules

Do you know who Eric Arthur Blair is?

No? That’s probably because he is much better known by his pen name.

George Orwell.

You will know, maybe have read, his novels “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty Four”.

You may not know, or have read, his essay from 1946 called “Politics and the English Language”. In it he set out his 6 rules for writing. Here are 4 of them…

Never use a long word when a short one will do.

If it’s possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Never use the passive when you can use the active.

Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or jargon, if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Orwell didn’t mess about. You can read Animal Farm cover to cover in 2 hours.

Why are we talking about this? These are rules we follow when developing shopper communication for clients. They are rules that we think ALL shopper communication should follow.

This is why we share the Insight Traction Lions each year.

You might have seen some of the 2022 winners when you were wasting time… sorry, doing important work related stuff… on Linked In.

They are an alternative set of awards. Awards that reflect Orwell’s rules of writing. That honour simple, clear and effective shopper communication.

Simple. Communication that says less. That uses few words. Short words. Everyday language.

Clear. Communication that is really easy to process. That tells a shopper what a product is. What it does. Why it’s good.

Effective. Communication that frames choices effectively. That makes a brand the most obvious choice for shoppers.

We think there is a lot to learn from the winners. For instance…

The importance of consistency. Fairy Liquid have been telling shoppers that Fairy lasts longer since the dawn of time. Remember that we get bored much more quickly than shoppers do.

The importance of subtracting. Sainsbury’s 1 x curry + 1 x beer meal deal is as simple as it gets. Too often conversations about shopper communication are about adding. They should be about subtracting.

The importance of headlining. Old El Paso’s “Mexican night with ZERO mess” is a great example. Too often the headline gets buried. Instead make the most important thing the most important thing.

The importance of being directive. Colgate’s “rinse, brush, replace” tells shoppers exactly what to do. Shoppers can’t do what you want them to do if they don’t know what to do.

The importance of memorability. John West’s “nice with rice,” AHDB’s “pick pork,” Oatley’s “wow no cow” are great examples. The best messages trigger shoppers in store and stick in their head when they’ve left store.

We’ve put all the winners into a handy pdf. If you’d like a copy, simply email naomi@insight-traction.com saying “yes please.”

All that’s left for us to say are 2 things.

Firstly, if you want help applying these principles to your shopper communication, you know where we are.

Secondly, this is the last blog of the year. We hope you have a great Christmas.

Come back firing on all cylinders in the new year.

The hunt for the 2023 Insight Traction Lions winners starts on January 1st…

Feel free to forward. Have a lovely festive break. Speak to you in the New Year.