There is one constant thing that unites good, solid Branding with Storytelling and with those methods that focus on making things memorable, like the method of loci: a good, visual, concrete image.
Let’s think of the great stories that we almost all of us share:
- Cinderella: the crystal slipper
- Red Riding Hood: the big, bad wolf
- The legend of King Arthur: a hand on a lake, holding Excalibur
And so on…a great story creates a great image which takes a weight of it’s own.
For me, one of the great grandmasters of the art “Painting pictures with words” is President Trump. Now, I’m not evaluating his political acumen (or lack thereof, depending on your point of view) but for me it´s remarkable how he manages, with a very simple, non-poetic vocabulary, to convey lasting images to illustrate his point.
For example, another, more polished politician might say “we need to review the criteria for validating background checks in viable immigration policies” as a way of saying that they want to reduce the flow of immigration to the U.S. Now, I almost fell asleep typing those words; political language being what it is, works for making the intentions of the speaker more veiled or more transparent, to a very select few people. If one’s not a dealmaker, the nuances of the language will provide tiresome.
Contrast this with
I WILL BUILD A WALL AND MAKE MEXICO PAY FOR IT ALL
(see? It even rhymes)
It paints a picture of a big, sturdy wall, around the south border of the US. Now, it this feasible? No, probably not. But it doesn’t matter: it has brought the point across that Trump is hard on illegal immigration and will probably stay on our minds long after any phrase by the other runners for the 2016 election has vanished.
Now, let me reiterate: I’m not saying that one has to copy Trump or admire him in any other way but the one that relates to branding and storytelling. I find him a very clever Brander, and a good Storyteller, but that’s on a technical level.
And on that level: what we can do to paint pictures with words, like him?
Mindfulness is a tool. Not just for Stress-reducing (though, it is great at it) or for greater resilience (also, great at it) but for creativity. Let’s make a five minute meditation, called the Cloud Meditation, into an experience of Branding and Storytelling.
- Sit relaxed, on a comfortable seat or in a mat
- Close your eyes.
- Let any sound or feeling permeate you and do not hang to anything that comes to mind.
- After a couple of breaths, imagine that with each inbreath, you draw pure, clear, cool air which starts to fill you
- With each outbreath you expel a dark, warm, sticky air, which is your impurities
- Continue for some breaths until you’re filled with the cool, clear air
- Now the cool clear air starts to accumulate in the crown of your head and comes out of your nostrils and ears like little puffs of smoke. Those puffs accumulate into a thought cloud, like this
- Now, we will work on the cloud with a cycle of three breaths. Start thinking on a story or in something you want to brand
- With the first breath, let an image of that story or product come into being, in the cloud. It doesn’t have to be very detailed. It even can be in black and white. Just let it come
- Second breath: really, really look at it, see how it makes you feel.
- Third breath: let it go, vanishing into the cloud
- Now we start again
- Do not do this for less that 10 images (which is 30 breaths). Do not get hung up on the images: they will come and go. Wait till you find and image that really, really grabs you.
- If an image vanishes and then comes back…as long as in the third breath it vanishes again, it is within the technique. Often after a longer period of visualizations, some start to repeat: it is a good sign that the image has special weight.
- When you want to stop, just let the cloud vanish and go back in your own body. Take three breaths and feel your body from head to toe, and open your eyes.
That’s all the work that you have to do.
So…I’d like to offer you a small challenge. Can you send me an image for a product or a commonly known story with this method? I can’t reward you with nothing but a post here…but I’d love to see your word paintings.