Watch out for two launches from Scotland Food & Drink over the next few weeks. I’ve done the copywriting for both of them, and they were wonderful projects.

First up is the UK Market Development Strategy, to be unveiled at the end of November. It’s a key document for Scotland’s 17,000 food and drink businesses, setting out how the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership will support them to sell more in across the UK.

Brewing strategy

Then, a few days later comes a growth strategy for Scotland’s brewing industry. This is a pet copywriting project of mine. I’ve discovered new favourite brewers and beers; learned about Edinburgh and Scotland’s brewing history; and gone on brewery tours. Scotland’s brewers are a pleasure to work with – collaborative, open, creative, and helpful.

The document will be published at the start of December 2018. As well as being beautifully designed (and written), it could make a real difference to growth prospects for brewing in Scotland.

Other 2030 projects

Brewing and UK market development aren’t the first strategy documents I’ve done for the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. There have also been documents on:

  • pigs
  • fruit, vegetables and potatoes
  • aquaculture
  • Ambition 2030 – a growth plan for the whole food and drink sector

I’m also working on an action plan with the seafood industry.

The skill behind the words

At first glance, these strategies may not seem like a huge copywriting challenge – not sparky and glamorous, like writing advertising copy. But there’s an art to them, which is deliberately hidden.

  • All the strategies have involved extensive engagement with businesses of all sizes, different parts of the public sector, and other stakeholders. They’ve involved dozens of meetings and hundreds of different ideas for how to unlock growth. These have to be distilled into manageable, feasible plans.
  • ‘If we can’t say who’ll make this happen, we can’t recommend it’. I have this on a loop every time I do one of these reports and apologies are probably due to those who’ve had to listen to me. But the early success of these strategies is down to their practical approach. Each recommendation comes with clear responsibilities, and often clear timelines too – ensuring that change will actually come.
  • Words can be a minefield in documents like this. Use ‘support’ instead of ‘align’ ¬†or ‘healthy’ instead of ‘natural’ (or vice versa) in the wrong place, and you could alienate half your audience. Careful echo-ing of someone’s priorities can get you influential support, but you can’t bore your business audiences with too much public-sector jargon. So it’s critical to understand your audiences and the nuances that determine success or failure.

Does all of of that sound pragmatic rather than creative?

Possibly. But there’s plenty of creativity involved in finding the answers above, and producing a document that dozens of people are happy to get behind.

Plus, business writing is supposed to make a difference. These strategy documents will do that.