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  • Orit Wittenberg

Your copy matters more than you realize

Still think copy's job is to transmit information? Think again.

Here's an interesting study.

A food company was testing packaging options for a new line of cookies.

In version 1, tasters were shown 2 package options and asked, "Which do you prefer?"

In version 2, the researchers simply put both packages on the table and had the tasters sample from each. The question these tasters were asked was, "Which cookie tastes better?" (Of course, the cookies were identical.)

Which of these do you think provided more telling results?

I bet you know the answer, you smart cookie you!


Yes! It was version 2 that gave a much more accurate read on consumers' true preferences and was more indicative of their behavior.

We think products actually taste better when we like their packaging.

As Malcolm Gladwell writes in Blink, "When we put something in our mouth and in the blink of an eye decide whether it tastes good or not, we are reacting not only to the evidence from our taste buds and salivary glands but also to the evidence of our eyes and memories and imaginations, and it is foolish of a company to service one dimension and ignore another" (p. 165).

But why stop at product packaging?

In fact, the same rules apply to all marketing assets.

People who visit your website or sales page take in your copy (+ design) together with your services in much the same way as they "consume" the cookie packaging together with the cookie.

It's pointless to even try to separate the two.

So here's the moral of the story: When you're thinking about your own copy, don't limit yourself to features and specs.

Don't use copy to simply transmit information.

Use it to curate an experience.

A delicious experience — one that makes your "cookies" taste even better.

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