PACK COPY WRITING etc.

So you have a beautiful brand design, now all you need is for someone to pick it off the shelf and buy it, right? By now you are so excited about your product, the benefits, the claims, the USP's (unique selling points), the story behind the creation, the ingredients, the research etc :)  Oh, and then come the legal requirements; size in mls, font size, symbols, warnings, bar-codes, cosmetic rather than 'drug' claims, languages, INCI labels (ingredients in Latin, because we all read Latin don't we!). :( If that is not enough, you may have to factor in what your retailer requires.  For example, when I met with one retailer, they told me that one of my product names  would not be acceptable - good to know up front before you have printed the packaging.  Nearly forgot...if you intend to distribute overseas.....well you can imagine and that is a whole other blog post. Writing copy beauty business What you visualised as minimal, beautiful, classic packaging, that would win awards (I have imagined myself on the stage collecting them; some say delusional I say, man has walked on the moon.....you know the rest!) and in time, become a global icon like Hermes, Chanel, (lofty ideas?) or  Rimmel (just as lofty), with copy that is legible, now has to fit the history of the world into a space that is about 5 inches x 2 inches.  Aaargh! GET SOME HELP, if this is not your area of expertise.  Here's how I went about it and you can learn from my trials, tribulations and triumphs. Beauty brand packaging copy          Very early on I researched and met a number of copy writers.  I shortlisted to about four and asked each of them, on the basis of the brand.
The information I had given them, to write an introduction to the brand.  This allowed me to see who had absorbed and interpreted the information accurately, understood  the USP's  and had applied some (mine hopefully) personality to it.  This was a good eliminator and I was down to one that I thought did a good job.  Honestly, I had no idea how long things were going to take and I did this way too early.  A) She might not be interested anymore, B) I am not sure where I put her details and test copy C) I have found another route. Check out competitors who are selling in the same or similar environment to that which you will be.  For example, I see a lot of competitors placing legally required but un-sexy information like bar-codes, symbols, INCI labels on the base of their cartons as none of these 'sell' your product. Great idea.  I see a trend for highlighting what a product does not contain and I made a decision that my copy would communicate what is in the product, positively communicating the benefits to the user. Scientists MERUMAYA business evidenceThe PhD brainiac Dr K, who has been very involved in selecting the most effective ingredients with me, has taken on the task of distilling the scientific data, test protocols and results for me, to use in pack copy, press releases, website copy and training notes.  The upsides 1. He knows his stuff so, highly accurate 2. He knows the legal requirements and limitations and how far we can push the envelope 3. He can translate science into English 4. He has been involved in the development of my brand and is personally invested in its' success .  The downsides 1. He is a man and a scientist and talks/writes like one 2. He has his own personality and style and it is not mine 3. He is very conscious of the legal limitations of what we can and cannot say.  Turns out to be the best of both; his second-to-none scientific knowledge and translation (about to be awarded the highest honour by the Society of Cosmetic Scientists) integrated with my voice, tone and personality.  So, it transpires, I did not need a straightforward copy writer after all. A while back, Dr K sent me the information for my icon product - three versions and I sent him my copy explaining the Integrative concept behind my skin care brand.  He changed mine, I tinkered with his and we exchanged. I reverted back to my explanation of the Integrative concept because it needs to be my tone, my language and personal.  He strongly disagreed with one of the changes I had made to his pack copy for good reason and I conceded.  Reading the pack copy got me so excited again, even more when my friend (senior in industry) said she liked it very much (with one grammatical correction - thanks M).  I sent it all off to my brand designer to do the art work ASAP so that I can see what it looks like and make changes if necessary before we do the others. Tons still to do though 1. use this a the basis for the other products 2. write press releases 3. write website copy, 4. write training notes and that is just for the copy. I cannot wait to launch.  I want to see people's faces when they see it, read the information, use the products, read about it in blogs and on the pages of magazines.  It's almost midnight and I am off to bed to dream about my dream..... Lesson - you can use the same person for multiple tasks depending on their expertise. Lesson - get expert help in areas that are not your strengths, especially in customer facing areas like packaging copy however, be sure the tone is appropriate for your brand e.g. personal, emotional or not, etc. Lesson - learn from competitors but be sure to retain your own style and points of difference for authenticity. Lesson - get familiar with shortening 30 words into 8 Recommend - dreaming, visualising your success, imagining what you want to happen rather than what you are afraid might happen, gratitude.  Heard of The Secret? All about the laws of attraction and in my opinion worth the hour or so to watch the DVD.

2 Comments

  • Maleka – I’ve read a couple of your blog posts this week and I’m really enjoying hearing about your new adventure. What an amazing journey you are on! I’ll keep listening in to hear about your progress and of course I can’t wait to see the final product on-shelf. Good luck.
    K x

    Kat Dawe
  • Hello K

    So lovely to have your encouragement – thank you. Please tell me, are you subscribed and if so, did you get an email alert to announce the Pack Copy Writing post? I did not and so I am wondering if other subscribers did or not. Bye for now and please help me spread the word. Mx

    Maleka

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