There’s a  reason I’m on the radio every week talking about brands. It’s because I’m interested in looking at what makes brands tick, what gives a brand that irresistible spark that attracts business like crazy, and why one brand nails it while others fail.

Finding the clues

One of the most exhilarating aspects of working with brands is interpreting the invisible clues that are actually screaming out ‘go away’ and ‘don’t buy’ – or ‘lean in a little closer.’  It’s the latter that informs you that an intuitively desirable brand is looking right back at you. Pay attention to these kinds of clues, get a sense of which ones resonate with you because it’s the best way to make sure your brand online is instantly likable and intuitively desirable.

A great example of a desirable brand? Check out the remarkable Laura Belgray, her brand and her business online at Talking Shrimp. People respond to it because, more than ever, they’re craving the emotional connection an intuitively desirable brand creates.

Name: Talking Shrimp

Owner and Creative Director: Laura Belgray

Description: This is the site of New York-based professional copywriter Laura Belgray who is not only one of the best copywriters I know, she also clearly started her business with a twinkle in her eye. Why? The clues on her site informed me – long before I ever invited her to be a guest on NY Brand Lab Radio – that she’s a quintessential Brand Maverick.

Unique Domain Name: There’s a reason she chose this name. (It’s on her site, and Laura can tell the story much better than I can.) Go read her story. It’s the first clue that tells you she’s not interested in the ‘same old/same old.’

Engaging Site Design: A bright hot pink site with talking/dancing shrimp welcomes you with thought bubbles saying ‘Hola.’ It’s a clue that tells me she’s having a blast. She’s not only having fun playing with color and language, she’s letting you in on her true persona, who she is, and what she’s all about. It’s now up to you, the viewer, as to whether you want to engage or not.

What’s the Feeling? Everything on the home page immediately makes you smile. It’s instantly likable, and that’s a top secret to creating an intuitively desirable brand. You can easily get a sense of the person behind the brand. In fact, you like and trust this person – immediately. The clue here is that it’s her humor that captivates you, engages you and wants you to know more…

A Clear Hierarchy of Information: You’re given a choice of three things to do. In each case, you find yourself smiling at her language and the way she expresses her work, brand and expertise. The clue here? There is beauty in restraint – and only offering three options is key here. You don’t have to scratch your head and wonder, ‘what on earth am I supposed to do now?”

So here are the three options she’s giving you. Notice how her language is upbeat, fun and engaging. You’ll see her client logos appear at the bottom of her home page: HBO, TV Land, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Oxygen, Sundance Channel, WE, Disney Channel, Bravo, New York and Spy as well as entrepreneurial business leaders.

Who says you can’t be fun, lighthearted and professional at the same time? FYI: The Q & A below are mine.

Option 1º

Q: My writing gets results and wins big, shiny awards! Want to see?

A: Watch my TV Spots

Option 2º

Q: Want copy that grabs people by the coconuts?

A: Let’s Talk

Option 3º

Q: Want the five secrets to writing non-sucky copy for any medium?

A: Get them here – Free.

Footnote: Here’s what Laura had to say recently about how to break the rules when it comes to writing your copy so you create a more desirable brand. She was my guest on NY Brand Lab Radio not so long ago:–

1.    Whatever rules you’ve ever learned about writing in the 6th grade, don’t be afraid to break them if that makes your copy sound more natural.

2.    Write the way you talk. (Sound like the person you are.)

3.    Humor gets attention.  (No need to be stuffy or overly earnest in your copy. It’s fine to be earnest if that’s your personality. The thing to avoid entirely these days is sounding formal and corporate. “Professional” no longer means buttoned-up and serious.)

4.    Paint a picture. (Vague copy is bland and boring.)

Ready to create your own intuitively desirable brand? Hear the full interview with Laura on NY Brand Lab Radio. Go to Just keep scrolling down until you find her name, photo and free download. Enjoy!


Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter