“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
One of my favorite things about Star Wars has nothing to do with light sabers or death stars. It’s the Jedi voice. How the fully trained Jedi can use The Force to get others to do anything they want. It seemed so cool and powerful. The Jedi didn’t need to pull out his light saber, at least not so frequently. He just had to speak, a sci-fi special ops technique if there ever was one. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that in real life?
This amazing power has nothing to do with science fiction and everything to do with the words and images we choose when crafting our messaging. In other words, how we tell a story about a particular product, service or cause will mean the difference between success and being obliterated by the Death Star. And make no mistake, the Jedi voice has been perfected by the Dark Side, making it all the more vital that we use it for good. As just one example, Frank Luntz, author of Words That Work and other tomes on messaging, advised George W. Bush to stop talking about “Global Warming” – which sounded threatening, and instead call it “Climate Change.” What, me worry?
Messaging from the Heath Brothers
The great news is that there has been a tremendous amount of research done that shines a light on why some messages work and others do not. The Heath brothers, Dan and Chip, have done us communicators a great service by unlocking the DNA of great messages. Their books, including “Switch” and “Made to Stick” provide actionable learning on the power of messaging.
But the Heath brothers are not the only ones who hold the secrets to effective storytelling. In my twenty years of helping companies create messaging, I’ve discovered these secrets in sometimes unexpected places, and from remarkable people – like Mr. Rogers, T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), and John Cleese.
The Messaging Tips Series
This series of blog posts is all about sharing these secrets with you in ways that will help you grow your business, champion a cause, or even convince your spouse to buy a particular car (“Honey, this is the car we’ve been looking for”).
It’s all up to you. But I do hope you do something good with it; the world could sure use your help right about now.
In order to make this knowledge easy to use, I’ve structured the posts in two parts. The first series of posts will highlight some of the key insights into the science and art of messaging. This will be followed by a real world example of how this knowledge was put to use effectively – an umbrella message platform that successfully rallied over 1,400 corporations, including Apple, Nike, GM, Intel, and Starbucks, to urge Washington to finally tackle climate change. What if you could put your words in the mouth of the President of the United States? Is knowing how we did that worth your time?