The true tale of Elizabeth Frensington-Smythe

March 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Posted in copywriting | 7 Comments
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Lady Elizabeth Frensington-Smythe (of Abbotsford).

I was rewriting a large website for a client with the glorious double-barrelled name (changed for this tale) of Elizabeth Frensington-Smythe.

With big projects, I often begin with small bits and work my way up at increasing speed.

Staff bios (profiles) are a great starting point.

When I got to Elizabeth’s bio, I recalled that she’d introduced herself to me as Liz.

She also signed her emails as Liz, yet her email address was

And so I wrote:

‘Dear Liz,

Are you predominantly Liz, Lizzy, Elizabeth (or some other permutation) to your various audiences?

The name they read should be the one they use.

If we can pick one variation and use it consistently across all communication channels, we’ll strengthen your brand.

If, however, use is situational, we can give this idea a miss.’

Liz replied:

‘My name is Elizabeth Frensington-Smythe.

Business cards, emails etc all use Elizabeth.

99% of people call me Liz.’

So I said:

‘Thank you, Liz.

So, all your business comms are in sync with just 1% of your audience.

As you’re obviously rebranding, can we ditch Elizabeth for Liz in all instances going forward?

Liz is shorter, friendlier and more accessible.

(Three traits that are particularly attractive when one has a double-barrelled surname.)

It’s impossible to misspell Liz.

And you’ll never again have to start a relationship with, ‘Please, call me Liz’.

This may remove small but unsettling uncertainties for some anxious folk.

Make sense?’

Liz said:

‘Liz it is.’

And so started our website optimisation collaboration.

Liz not only ended up with perfect online content.

She also got a sharper, stronger and more consistent personal brand.

I love it when that happens!


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Pic by #1 Airsoft Mom.


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  1. Reblogged this on Desolie: thoughts about editing, writing and words and commented:
    Good copywriters and editors look at both the big picture and the tiny details. And doesn’t it show!
    Again, thanks to the talented Paul Hassing for this post.

  2. Love it, Paul.

    Just underlines the value copywriters and editors bring to a project.

    Our ability to see both the big picture and the tiniest details makes us good at our work.

    Consistency rules!

    • So pleased you agree, Desolie. Your reblog and vote of confidence always assure me I’m still on track with this copywritng caper. Kind regards indeed, P. 🙂

  3. Classic story, Paul. I’d never be so bold. Small details indeed!

    • Thank you, Ad. I’d never build my own house! Great big details. No wonder we worked so well together. Kind regards and thanks for reading and commenting. P. 🙂

  4. That’s great advice and really easy to follow! Thanks for the clarity regards Barry, or is that Baz?

    • Many thanks for your feedback, Sir. I think, in light of your reputation, that you may be the exception to this rule. So I suggest you go henceforth under the appellation BazMeist3r Flash & His Furious 5. 🙂

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