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PR & Communications opinion

Solution to communication failure is communication

Translating product information into information that can be understood and, perchance liked, is up to the copywriter - however, there are many fingers clutching at their pens, which may result in what the adage warns of cooks and the broth.
In any advertising agency or public relations company, there are two main points of view to which the advertisement or press release is forced to consider.


Photo via FreeDigitalPhotos
These points of view come from:
    The client, and
    -The copywriter.
Before these can be discussed, it is worthwhile knowing that each role has one principal objective: to increase sales of a product or service. However, even though the objective is the same, the way in which this objective is believed to be achieved is very different.

Furthermore, there is one other role within the agency that may just be the key to unlock the necessary flow of communication - the account manager, who is the liaison between the agency and the product.

Generally, they are the ones who take the heat for critique the clients give and all the poor ideas the agency suggests. Account managers are qualified messengers whose backbone must be a strong one because they are targeted from both sides, all the time. Their quality comes with their experience in finding middle ground and compromise.

The client

The client is the representative, usually the marketing manager, of the product or distribution company. Naturally, the client will desire to have product-centric copy with the minutiae of the product described in detail. The client will generally dismiss radical or creative ideas that steer away from product information.

It is necessary to be aware of the client's nature here - the client is not an advertiser; the client may not be a keen observer of the human condition; and the client may certainly not be well-informed of trends in marketing or social media. It is the client's business to know the product, not the people who buy the product.

The copywriter

Copywriters are not in the limelight. The work they do is, arguably, the most important with regard to the principal objective. If it is a universally-accepted notion that the way a product is communicated affects its sales, then it must be accepted also the notion that a copywriter is key to an agency's success and the client's sales.

Copywriters-the good ones-usually come from a background or a history of literature; and one of the most important aspects of good writing is being able to judge society or being able to observe society with depth. Copywriters have this innate understanding of human nature; and they are socially aware - this means that they have an ability to "tell" when a reader or prospect (the customer) may lose interest.

The problem with this ability is that it isn't a science, which means the copywriter often has no means to explain his reasoning other that it "sounds good". Nor is it rare that his ideas violate the client's belief in what the customer ought to know.

In spite of the common goal, there seems still to be a "I know more than you" attitude within the agency - and this poor communication, perhaps led on by a groundless pride, lies quite squarely on the account manager to ensure both opinions are expressed clearly.

The copywriter needs to understand that in order for the product ever to see its day on a billboard, they have to stifle their creativity somewhat or perhaps use their creativity to unite the client's brief with their own, often outlandish, concepts. On the other hand, the account manager, through careful, dexterous and diplomatic expression, must endeavour to share the creative, and often sagacious point of view of the copywriter.
    
 

About Claudio Milo

Claudio is a copywriter with work experience relating specifically to commercial literacy-as a copywriter with years of experience in writing copy for many public relations companies and various brands, his skill-set is poised to contribute greatly to public relations companies or advertising agencies in which his specialised sense of accuracy and efficacy for copy must be an asset. His area of expertise lies primarily in copywriting-especially in press releases - and corporate copy editing, proofreading. Twitter claudio_milo
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