Archive for June, 2012


Apple’s Message Mapping

APPLE’S MESSAGE MAPPING

Product: MacBook Pro with Retina display

Headline: “It’s a whole new vision for the notebook.” (42 characters. Twitter-friendly.)

4 key elements in short sentences:

A. “Stunning Retina display.”

B. “All-flash architecture.”p

C. “Thin. Light. Powerful.”

D. “The rest of the MacBook Pro family is faster than ever.”

Product: iPhone 4S

Headline: “It’s the most amazing iPhone yet.” (33 characters. Twitter-friendly.)

4 Key elements in short sentences:

A. “Dual-core A5 chip.”

B. “8 MP iSight camera.”

C. “iOS5 and iCloud.”

D. “And introducing Siri.”

Product: The new iPad

Headline: “Resolutionary.” (14 characters. 1/10th of a tweet!)

4 key elements in short sentences:

A. “Breakthrough Retina display.”

B. “5MP iSight camera.”

C. “iLife and iWork for iPad.”

D. “Ultrafast 4G LTE.”

For each “key element”, there are (usually 4, sometimes more) “sub-key elements” which go into greater detail (and technical jargon, too).

Here’s for the three most recent “flagship products”, yet ALL Apple messages ( headlines or sub-headlines) are Twitter-friendly (140-character or less).

Why? Because the human brain has a very limited memory and a short attention span, so it is clever (and necessary, in Apple’s case) to cut the amount of facts to be reminded.

Here are some more Twitter-friendly headlines or sub-headlines. Let’s have a look again at the flagship products.

“The world’s highest-resolution notebook display.” (48 characters!)

“It makes quicker work of everything.” (36 characters!)

“There’s power behind every nanometer.” (37 characters!)

“The intelligent assistant that’s there to help. Just ask.” (58 characters…but a fragmented sentence, which is not a smart thing to do, as the brain loves simple, seamless things, without interruptions, even the smallest ones.)

“Even faster everything.” (23 characters! Notice the “everyday-blather” style.)

“It just might be the best camera ever on a phone.” (49 characters!)

“Years ahead and moving forward.” (31 characters!)

“Your content. On all your devices.” (34 characters…but another fragmented sentence.)

“It’s even more than meets the eye.” (34 characters!)

“Take your best shots yet.” (26 characters!)

“And 225,000 more apps from the App Store.” (43 characters. Beginning a sentence with “and” is not academic, if there’s nothing written before… Yet it may be acceptable in the circle of hipsters and hyperbole users.)

“Full speed ahead.” (17 characters!)

There are a lot more examples, but I will stop there. By now, you know what my point is.

Name the product, craft a twitter-friendly headline, highlight 4 key elements (if within your business, only as a “guidebook”, where you might consider “sub-key elements”, more technical) and voilà: here’s the message you always wanted and always needed.

Greats artists steal, so shamelessly steal Apple’s model!

For job-hunting people: consider using this model (you become the “product” in this case) and replacing your whole CV/résumé/cover letter with just one mapped message.

I won’t be held responsible if you follow this advice and don’t succeed. I will try it myself soon, and I’ll tell you in an update how it went. Yet if you are a daring soul, go ahead and tell me how it went. Your feedback is welcome.

While We're Paused!

During the month of June, I thought I might share some insights from my nine years of teaching writing to college students of all levels–from freshmen to graduates.  These are some of the most common errors of omission and commission that I encounter on a regular basis.  What has this to do with writing fiction, you ask?  Fiction let’s us play around intentionally with many of the rules that non-fiction authors must live by.  Of course, the first necessary step to intelligently breaking a rule is to know what it means to begin with.  So, I will open with a discussion of the problem, explain what the rule should look like in normal prose, and then close with some ideas on how this can help your fiction.  I might even give a few ideas as to how you can even thumb your nose at it!

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This week we…

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