30 Nov 2016
Established in 2013 by sisters Cruzanne Macalligan and Ellie-Kate Macalister, boutique copywriting agency The Quick Word Company is boosting the brand of Hong Kong and Asian firms.
“We found that Hong Kong businesses weren’t paying as much attention to their copywriting as they were to the design, so we saw an opportunity to change that,” says Ms Macalister.
Since setting up three years ago, the agency has written for more than 180 brands across a wide range of industries, from finance and insurance to F&B and fashion. Briefs have ranged from standard marketing communications fare such as writing press releases and brochures, to developing brand identity and communication strategy.
Sisters Cruzanne Macalligan and Ellie-Kate Macalister set up boutique copywriting agency The Quick Word Company in 2013
A significant part of the agency’s work is providing tailored messages for a local audience, including international luxury brands that want to localise their communications. “Audiences here are discerning and they want authentic experiences. They want to be told the story of the product and don’t just want to see the price tag,” says Ms Macalligan.
Having previously worked in agencies as a copywriter and in publishing and public relations, Ms Macalligan serves as Creative Director, while Ms Macalister, who has a background in television, is Managing Director. Ms Macalister worked in Beijing for a couple of years before returning to Hong Kong, where the pair were born and raised. While the sisters are the core team, they also work with a group of editors and specialist writers to create content.
Spreading the Word
The Quick Word Company exhibited at the InnoDesignTech Expo last year, where they secured new business. “The Expo was great as it provided the chance to meet emerging Asian brands that want to present themselves on the international stage. Some trade shows can be a bit soulless but this one was really fun, and we met lots of great businesses,” says Ms Macalligan.
This included Indonesia’s Kaizen 10 Minute Haircut, which commissioned The Quick Word Company to refresh all the collateral the company needed for trade fairs such as brochures and leaflets, as well as update content on its website. “They have this really cool premise and it’s their goal to be the first salon listed on the Indonesian stock exchange. But their marketing material was a little dated and everything was designed differently. They were going to franchise fairs in New York and Paris so that’s why they needed our help.”
Many business dealings may be conducted online these days, but the agency felt there was real value in attending the Expo, which is why they are returning this year. “We’ve found that many clients in Asia don’t want to do things over e-mail. They don’t want to send us a document, have us tweak it and send it back – they want to meet us. That’s one of our favourite parts of the job,” says Ms Macalligan. “It’s so much nicer to meet a client in person, even briefly. And if we send a brief form for a job, a client may spend a lot of time filling it out because they’re conscious of you reading it,” she adds.
As a small business, attending the Expo gives companies like theirs the chance to introduce their expertise and learning about the market, says Ms Macalister. “It can be hard to gauge if people understand what you do, so it’s our way of getting to the source and communicating with customers, understanding their needs and fielding their questions.”
The pair believes that the copywriting business has huge potential in Hong Kong, with more businesses waking up to the power of the written word. “When we started the company, what clients had budgeted for writing always came in so much lower than design, whereas in many cases they’re on a par with one another. People are valuing creative content more, so there are plenty of opportunities for us,” says Ms Macalligan.
The Quick Word Company has grown its business organically, through word of mouth and referrals from fellow copywriters, says Ms Macalligan. Much of their work involves organising and auditing company communications for consistency. They now aim to grow their business by taking a comprehensive approach to communication services that balances strategy and creativity.
“We try to show a more tailored, crafted approach to copywriting, so we bring in that strategy element then follow through. In the creative world, there are so many strategists and consultants – people who tell you what you should be doing – but then they leave and the team is left with nobody to do it; whereas we’ll tell you what you need to do and then we’ll help you do it,” says Ms Macalligan.
As its business continues to expand, The Quick Word Company is keen to take copywriting to the next level in Hong Kong and Asia, says Ms Macalister. “We’re excited to share with businesses the positive impact of investing in copywriting and the value of clarity and creativity in brand communication.”
The Quick Word Company