In a previous post I talked about the Leitmotiv, the guiding theme or concept that can help be the glue for the persuasive story you’re trying to tell.

The one thing you need to guard against with the Leitmotiv is excess. When your theme tries too hard, or is too clever for its own good, it detracts from your message rather than reinforcing it, and you don’t want that.

A good way to tell if you’re stretching things too much is if your reader has to work too hard to see the link between your theme and your message. If the link is lost, your objective is lost too. I saw this recently with some excellent copywriting done on a brochure. The Leitmotiv was a good one, it was a musical one, using the idea of a conductor who coordinates all the different elements of an orchestra into something beautiful.

The tone was good, but the language was too musical, too specialist, and so the link was lost. Toning down the language – if you pardon the pun – reestablished the link and made it more powerful.

As with many things, it was about getting the balance right, the fit right. Make sure your Leitmotif gets it right too.

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