A priceless cranny

Sometimes a tiny bit of writing can be inordinately powerful.

Us Writer trainers spend quite a lot of time in the air, and I usually fly British Airways (for the points, and the ineffably polite cabin service, occasionally tinged with a note of public-weary sarcasm). But one thing I love about BA is that when I print out my boarding pass at home, it says at the top:

Mr Neil Taylor, you’re ready to fly.

It’s just so... exciting. Romantic. Like I’m about to step onto an aeroplane (no, hold on, definitely an airplane) in Rio in 1953. Or something. And that little ‘Mr’ is important, too. I don’t get mistered very often (and when I do, I don’t always like it). But BA pull it off.

None of which usually bears much resemblance to the rest of my flight. But it sets me off with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. Just like one of our workshops in California: a woman brought along a receipt from the US outdoorsy brand Prana. She’d kept it in her purse for five years because she liked a quotation they’d printed on it. How much would an ad agency pay for that ‘share of mind’? Every time she got her money out, she saw this brand. For five years (and counting!).

It cost them virtually nothing to do. But it’s why we think the nooks and crannies of a brand’s writing can be priceless.

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