Stripy elephant - why your copywriting needs to be different


As a business, it’s good to be the stripy elephant in the room.


Because you have to stand out.

What’s the point in looking and sounding like every other business? You have to have something about you that makes you different to your competitors.

Before you say, our customer service is second to none; our products are innovative…everyone says that. Words are not enough.

How are you going to be different?

A leap of faith

One way you can stand out it is how you present yourself in writing.

I’ve written for numerous companies around the world, and one scenario continually crops up.

When taking the brief it becomes apparent that they don’t have a ‘jaw-dropping’ USP that’s going to make people flock to them, so I have to get creative.

I discuss with the client my vision for how we can present the content in a way that will get it noticed.

My advice is to adopt an informal/humorous/cheeky style that will engage the reader, give the company a personality and show the audience the business is made up of real people who want to help.

Initially, it is received well, and I get the green light to proceed.

After days of writing, rewriting and refining, the initial draft is ready for the client to see.

Some clients instantly ‘get it’, love the style and run with it.

A lot suddenly go pale and start to get cold feet. They ramble on about how that’s not how they ‘speak’ in their industry, that customers expect a certain style and approach. It’s not ‘corporate’ enough etc.

Err, that’s the whole point.

Let’s say I’m looking for a disaster recovery solution for my business. After a bit of research, I create a short list of companies that appear to be a good fit. I’m old school, so I get all their brochures so I can compare them.

One evening, I’m sat on my sofa, a glass of wine hand, flicking through the brochures.

Three out of the four are very similar. They use stock images, are full of doom and gloom and list all the services they provide.

The other one catches my eye. For a start, the front cover has a bold statement showing me why I need a disaster recovery solution. The rest of the pages use vibrant images, and the content stands out because it’s so different.

Instead of focusing on the services, it uses humour and a lighter tone that enhances rather than dilutes the message. It gives the whole document personality, reassuring me that these people know their onions. For some reason, this different approach makes me want to trust them because they are not just paying lip service.

In my eyes, because they have the balls to be different they are the company I want to do business with.

Become that stripy elephant

There are no rules that say you have to present yourself the way everyone else does in your industry.

Your customers don’t expect a specific approach; in fact, they welcome something different from the norm.

It’s time to be brave, take a stand and show your individuality.


Sally Ormond is an international copywriter with a style that will make you stand out, whatever your industry.