The power of just two words.

I’m a sucker for good packaging. Color. Design. Copy. Especially copy. It’s hard to write good, succinct copy.

So I was impressed by the copy being used by Target on their new in-store label: a short list of features and benefits followed by a two word summary. For instance, shampoo is “hair-do delight” and dryer sheets are “whiffless lift.”

I was feeling all inspired about using this two-word approach in some way in my own marketing, but wasn’t really sure about how to do that.

Until I read this post from Deborah Weber today all about how she learned to apply the 80/20 rule to a two-word statement that captures your essence. The first word describes the 80% that is your foundation. The second word describes the 20% that distinguishes you. Cool, right?

And that explained why I was impressed but not completely smitten with what Target had done.  “Whiffless lift” is perfect because it describes unscented dryer sheets. But “hair-do delight” on a bottle of dandruff shampoo kind of misses the point. That 20% word counts for a lot.

My inspiration renewed, I intended to follow Deborah’s excellent example and come up with a two-word phrase for my business. But my brain instantly got bored with that and moved on to the idea of using this to name stuff. Stuff with boring labels – like to-do lists and binder tabs and file folders.

Naming is powerful. Give stuff the right name and presto-chango it’s way more fun. And suddenly makes sense. And you want to do it. Like magic, naming is.

So, to begin with, it’s about time for me to update my calendar for the next few months. And all the activities I block out are getting new names. Starting with tomorrow’s “week-end wrap-up.” Booorriinng. Finishing Party? No. Doneness Exit? Nah. Outta-Here Boogie? Now we’re getting somewhere…

Who knew the Pareto Principle could be such a gas? This is going to be fun. Come play along with Deborah and me.

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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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