Placing my order last week at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Downtown Oak Park, a simple declaration on a piece of cardboard caught my eye: "Grab a Cookie."
Tucked against the rear wall of the food-preparation area, it was neatly hand-printed with the price, $1.25, noted below. The sign was clipped to an empty basket--empty, surely, because enough customers had heeded the instruction to relieve the container of its contents. It was just waiting for a new batch of cookies to get deposited for thee next round of inevitable withdrawals.
Central to this marketing message's strategy is its deployment of a grammar fundamental, the action verb, to spur on a desired activity. Desired by the restaurant, that is. Whether it's something the individual customer desires is another question, although Potbelly is doing all it can to tap into that widespread predisposition to satiating our sweet tooth.
Potbelly is not settling for what many other restaurants do: a simple label. Why merely state "Cookies, $1.25"?
That the treats inside the basket are cookies is patently obvious to anyone who has previously encountered them in one of their myriad, tempting forms. By inserting "grab," a succinct, easy-to-grasp action verb, Potbelly has elevated the communication from a white-noise label to a somewhat aggressive invitation.
Really, it's more of a challenge that plays (some may say "preys") on so many individuals' weakness for sugary substances.
So as it relates to your organization, what is the effort you are making that is along the lines of Potbelly's call to action? If you are not already doing so, you ought to think in terms of statements and questions directed to your target audience with the intent of moving them to take the action you desire.
Those questions can mix humor and gravity, the way that Amway Diamond Dan Yuen has grown so proficient at challenging Independent Business Owners to pursue their goals at World Wide Group (WWDB) conferences like Free Enterprise Days and Dream Night. Yuen makes people laugh, but for those really tuned in, he does it with a certain, undeniable edge.
Or you might try another tact--whatever tone and message is aligned with your company or cause's mission.
At minimum, on a practical media relations level, a news release should include language that tells readers what they can do next. "To learn more about..." and "for more information" are helpful introductory phrases, and certainly superior to a mere mention of a website, for example.