London. A city where anything and everything is possible. A city where dreams come true. A city where you take an eel, cook it, stick it in jelly and serve as a savory snack.
The world is full of contradictions but that didn’t stop Vistaprint’s global copy team from attending a 3-day summit, including the Copywriting Conference 2017, in the heart of the Brexit capital. Six months in the planning, it was the first time our European and US teams would be together in one place. And what a ride.
First things first, what on earth is copy I hear you ask? The copy team are those folk that put words in place to make a company sound crystal clear and enticing to their customers. Based in Barcelona and Waltham, we are a bunch of writers who communicate across all channels to our customers.
You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off?
Two of the summit’s three days took place at one of those cool, hip, music-blaring, free coffee-flowing Wework coworking spaces in the center of London’s old financial district. The team all obviously felt totally out of place.
They spent time getting to know each other through jet lag pain, Michael Caine impressions, and many insightful icebreaking activities. Additionally, as all copywriters do, they sat around for hours drinking copious amounts of coffee talking about words, semicolons, exclamation marks, as well as defining our brand voice. They analyzed how well our existing copy currently communicate to the customer and how we can make that clearer.
Eating pies and getting closer to the customer.
Recently, some of the copy team worked closely with the UK-based charity The Prince’s Trust designing materials for their Tomorrow’s Store. It was to great surprise therefore that after a lovely pie lunch, they stumbled upon that very store. They eagerly entered and surprised the head of marketing partnerships, with whom they had been working closely up until then. Their first face-to-face meeting, they enjoyed a unique customer/client moment. It was a great opportunity to see the shop they had been writing for. “That was the perfect dessert to the steak pie”, remarked one copywriter.
Bananas improve your writing.
On the third and final day, they marched across London to the Docklands area to attend the Copywriting Conference, a packed day of talks, seminars and networking. The conference covered many subjects affecting copywriters globally, such as looking at the science of ordinary words, writing standout copy, creative copy in a busy world, pitching to clients, or mobile UX copy.
The conference was thoroughly inspiring to all who attended and they came away with many more tools in their bags to write more engaging copy. It was a great opportunity to meet other copywriters, share experiences and learn from one another.
One of the key learnings from the conference was that bananas and biros have an incredibly existential writing relationship. Many were uplifted by this experience and if you try writing on a banana with a biro, you’ll understand.
If it wobbles, put some fish in it.
One of the main objectives of the trip was to bring the global team together to better understand each other culturally and personally. This was ultimately achieved on the second night as the whole team gathered together in a good old-fashioned London chippy to experience the classic of all London dishes: fish ‘n’ chips with jellied eels.
Unfortunately, this article is not interactive so you cannot experience the exquisiteness of mixing a salty eel with jelly. Nothing prepares you for it, but once you try it you instantly become part of a very select group of jellied eelers. The copy team now belongs to that group, which means our bond is now infinite and unbreakable, just what any company needs from their writers.
Gifts from the trip.
The copy team’s summit was a success, resulting in many new ideas for the company, but of equal importance, the team has become a lot closer. They have also eliminated embarrassing silences in meetings, rejoice in having nerdlike qualities, and unanimously agree that jellied eels are completely, totally and utterly wrong.
Contributed by David Reeson, Copywriter