Attending Growing Gloucestershire 2014 recently, I was reminded of the importance of using engaging examples to create word pictures and bring stories to life whenever we communicate – using media, or face-to-face. It’s amazing how a simple example can turn an ‘okay’ communication into a highly memorable one.
Ben Taylor’s presentation at Growing Gloucestershire 2014
My observation coincided with starting to read Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, and in particular their definition of SUCCESs principles that make ideas stick in our minds. What stood out for me at Growing Gloucestershire was the presentation by Ben Taylor, Assistant Group Chief Executive of Gloucestershire-based metrology (measurement) specialists Renishaw plc.
I enjoyed Ben’s talk and learned lots about Renishaw’s philosophy and products. If truth be told, it wasn’t the greatest presentation from a technical point of view. But what the talk occasionally lacked there, it made up for with fascinating content, Ben’s enthusiasm and the memorability of several word pictures that he painted to illustrate important points. I loved it.
The Eifel Tower and the grapefruit
In particular, there’s the image of the Eifel Tower and a grapefruit that Ben left in my mind as he explained the 0.08 arcsec accuracy of Renishaw’s metrology equipment. On the face of it, that sounds pretty accurate, but how much more engaging it was when Ben explained that this meant an angular measurement accuracy equivalent to describing an arc with the diameter of a grapefruit on the side of Paris’s most famous monument at 289 miles/465 Km – the distance, as the crow flies, from where we were sitting in Gloucestershire to Paris.
Got it! (And I can’t stop thinking about this, and by association, Renishaw plc.)
Let’s jump back to Made to Stick and the SUCCESs acronym proposed by the Heath brothers to encompass all the principles required of a ‘sticky’ idea:
S = SIMPLICITY
U = UNEXPECTEDNESS
C = CONCRETENESSC = CREDIBILITY
E = EMOTIONS
S = STORIES
Thinking back to Ben’s talk at Growing Gloucestershire, it’s clear why the image of grapefruit and La Tour Eifel has stuck so firmly in my mind.
The importance of word images in communication
The takeaway from this, and from Made to Stick, is that carefully considered imagery, whether by word of mouth, graphically, or in copy, really can make a strong and lasting impression on the recipients of the communication. Even better if each method of delivery is supported by the others (hint Ben, a picture of M. Eifel’s engineering triumph next time please). That’s why creative collaborations between copywriter and designer/website designer are usually so much more impactful than dropping copy into a ‘designed’ brochure or website.
Tell me about the stickiest idea you’ve encountered recently
So, what’s the stickiest idea that you’ve run into recently? The one that’s still playing on your mind, reminding you of an event or a business, or inspiring you? Feel free to comment below and tell me.
PS: If you didn’t make Growing Gloucestershire this year, make sure to come along in 2015.