To sell to the ego, you gotta talk to the id.
by Zoe Courtman-Smith, 04 Apr 2017
This is the first of our new blog series, This I Know To Be True, written exclusively by the copywriters, designers, art directors and creative directors at BKV. Each month, one of our creatives will take you into their world and tell you one thing they’ve learned for sure about their craft and its impact on their work. It’s a great way to get to know the creative team at BKV—and why we do what we do.
The creative department at BKV is an irreverent, ribald bunch who also happens to be absolute nerds about our disciplines. We don't just walk the talk about copy or design; we take it out on the town, get it drunk, talk smack about it the next day. We work with the lights out, literally. We play.
This is important, especially to copywriting, and I'll show you why in a minute. In a few words: good copywriters are very likely to be led by their ids most of the time. That's definitely true of me.
In a few words: good copywriters are very likely to be led by their ids most of the time.
In fact, during one of our spontaneous group conversations when I piped up with some non sequitur the other day, one of our art directors laughed and added, "Zoë always says what we're all thinking." (Back atcha, RJ!)
And that's true. Because I'm very id-oriented. I live the world through my senses, then parse meaning from it, or play angles with it, through my ego. (God help my super-ego; its job is cut out for it.)
So that's the first part of landing exceptional, can't-look-away copy for your brand: you’ve got to do the legwork to find a copywriter who lives the world so they can relate to practically anyone, any human drive, and then lean on it like crazy (for the power of good, naturally), using powerful and intuitive psychological triggers that make the sale.
(It makes a HELLUVA case for actively recruiting older creatives who've lived, learned, crashed, burned and kept getting up for more. You just can't fake human, lived-in experience.)
The second part: make sure that copywriter keeps on writing from—and to—the ids of your audience.
Example: fear. That's one of our most powerful drivers, and it lives in the completely irrational but always alert amygdala of your brain. And if you want to tweak that amygdala to, say, position how a bit of new software can help a company's sales team (your audience) identify hot leads, you have to use words that transmit the fear quickly—activating the audience's id—then swiftly position them in a way that their ego can understand and take action to allay that fear.
Consider a headline like: Are you in danger of losing your job?
The words "you,” "danger" and "losing" have already detonated in the ids of your audience (sales reps who could use your nifty sales software). Great. Now you have two choices: you can build on that fear by relating that you understand the precarious position of sales reps—always being one big miss away from losing your job or promotion (this I recommend, but depending on the medium or channel, i.e., a social post, you might not have enough time or space to do this...though, your landing page BETTER) —or you go right to the next step, which is to speak swiftly to that ego:
Sign up to try the one tool that always gives you the jump on the best pitching opportunities and the exact contacts to talk to so you always have the edge.
Then wrap it up with a CTA that combines id and ego to nail that sale:
Never feel like you're one big miss from losing the game again. Sign up for your free trial now. Seal it with a big, bold button: GET FIRST LOOK AT THE BEST LEADS.
The third part?
Now give your copywriters leeway to sell to that id, using their experience of the world PLUS their experience of the language, psychology, marketing and copywriting. The language might sound very different from your usual brand voice, but at the same time very familiar (and if you're worried, do an A/B test before you roll it out. You'll find your creatives are usually right on target.). Because, remember, human connection is never off-brand. This I know to be true.
Because, remember, human connection is never off-brand.
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