Words Matter.

The recent news on the “Buffet Rule” reminded me about older reports on the “Death Tax” from several years ago.  They might not be related although they do have some similarity in their ability to evoke a response.  I’m not suggesting that Warren Buffet is as well known as Death itself though his nickname “Oracle of Omaha” is a little intimidating.

When I’d first heard of the “Death Tax” and without really understanding what they were talking about I was against it.  Who wouldn’t be?  I mean a Death Tax on people sounds horrible.  Without knowing the details I jumped to a conclusion based upon the feeling a couple of words gave me.

The “Buffet Rule” I believe was the first effective use of what I call “painting” by Democrats to get a reaction.  Feel free to help me out as I might not be remembering other creations by Democrats (telling).  I certainly remember quite a few from Republicans (also telling).  I’m very surprised that it has taken them this long – I believe that they might have turned a corner in their understanding and marketing.  It’s possible that the word “Hope” made a major contribution to the last election – right word, right time.

Expect to see more as the President often refers to former President Ronald Reagan in his speeches. Why?  It doesn’t matter if its people, groups, animals or actions – they help paint a picture and evoke a response.  Using people with a brand establishes third party credibility (perhaps even endorsement) and gets a mostly positive response from those they have targeted with the speech.  Don’t think its working …watch the numbers.

This is not new

I’ll leave it to the scholars to discuss figurative language with metaphors, similes, allegories and the like with linguistic operations used for language.  I simply believe that Marketing can use words in our dialog with prospects that call them to action via the very specific language we use.  I particularly love the way Winston Churchhill used his paintbrush. “Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount.“.  That one line creates a visual so simple and stunning you can’t help but get it.  Look also at his “Iron Curtain” speech. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent” WOW…we gotta fix that – sounds really bad.

Paint your Picture

This idea of influencing people on a message is part of what brought me to marketing as a career.  I love the idea of words that paint a picture and eat up all the content I can :^).  Using a big paintbrush we can color the dialog to provide entertaining and informative visuals making it easy for folks to understand what we are saying and get them to take action.  Good brands do this all the time, some with a name – a facebook used to be a printed book of pictures of all the new students. You don’t have to do it with your name but you can describe your product in a way that warms people to you and gets them asking questions.  Go grab a paintbrush and get to it.

Image: numberstumper’s photostream / flickr