Copywriting Tip: Take Advantage of Every Opportunity to Tell Your Story

On my first visit to P.F. Chang’s late last year, I discovered the brand was telling their story in the tiniest of places: the fortunes slipped into the iconic cookies. The food was delicious, the service was great, and, as a copywriter, I was delighted to see the brand taking advantage of every opportunity to tell their story.

Along with the check, the server delivered the requisite fortune cookies. Inside were short strips of paper printed with the expected fortunes on one side, and factoids about the food prepared and served at P.F. Chang’s on the other side.

P.F. Chang’s fortunes. One side has the fortune; the other side has a factoid about the food served at the restaurant.

Now, I know that this little piece of paper probably usually gets swept up with the cookie wrappers and other dining debris left on the table by guests, but for a split second, P.F. Chang’s took advantage of this opportunity to tell their story to their customer.

For reference, here’s another fortune from a different cookie received at a different restaurant.

A fortune from a different cookie and restaurant. (I can’t remember where.)

The back has lucky numbers and a website to visit if this particular fortune has you wanting another.

No one would notice or care if P.F. Chang’s also had lucky numbers on the back of their fortunes. Instead of doing that, though, they use the fortune-reading moment to reassure their customers that, yes, what you just ate was fresh and carefully prepared. At least, that is what a fact about the food implies. Interestingly, this moment comes after the meal. Reading the tidbit doesn’t feel salesy. I had already asked for the check and pulled out my credit card. There’s no upselling at this point during the dining experience. Of course, there is a risk with the end-of-meal timing for this particular case. If the food is not satisfactory, the customer could easily see these fortune cookie factoids as a marketing sleight of hand—all talk and no action. P.F. Chang’s has to be on their game. Overall, using this tiny area to add to the P.F. Chang’s story is smart.

The tip: Don’t overlook small opportunities to tell your brand’s story. Are you using every space and every moment in your interaction with your customers? Get creative and take advantage of small pieces and short moments with copy that is appropriate to the medium and timing. A short piece of copy can make a significant impression.

Want more copywriting tips? Check them out here.

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