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KineticFuture: Leadership Communications Coaching
Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Tipping Point” talks about contagious messages. They catch on
and get repeated. We’ve seen it with comedian catch phrases, ad slogans and even around the
office. They’re memorable because of their simplicity and often because they touch an emotion
of the time.
Think about the difference between these:-
“I love New York” or “New York is a great place to live”
“Just do it” or “Act now. You’ll get fit”
“You’re worth it” or “You deserve to spend money on yourself”
You don’t have to be a top advertising copywriter or comedian to make this work for you. But you
do need to develop a contagious message if you’re seriously trying to create change internally,
selling or even to help people remember safety information.
Even on a day to day basis contagious messaging works. I had a boss who would stride around
the office shouting “Work harder. Work faster!” (Annoying but memorable). A fellow consultant
would frequently shout “Does it move the dial?”, “So What!” (What will it achieve for the
business) and “Selling is helping”. And a client this week told me about a fellow pharmaceutical
sales person who used a simple description “Little Boy Blue and The Jolly Green Giant” to
describe 2 packaging sizes of medicine. They all caught on.
Here’s a process to help you get there. Brainstorm with colleagues if you can. When you’re
doing this be deliberately extreme, unreasonable, ridiculous and emotive.
1. What’s the heart of what you want to say?
2. What’s the emotion you want to convey? Or the emotion behind the idea?
3. What’s the call to action?
4. If we were Coca Cola, Nike, Richard Branson, The Buddhists, Gay Pride what would we
say? (use your own provocative organisations)
5. Which campaign slogans could inspire us? Do they use alliteration, a rally call, a
statement, controversy, one word?
6. Can I express my idea in one word? Can I express it in 3-5 words?
7. Check it out: do I believe it? Do I want to say it? What do others think?