Art of Message

Art of Message – April 20, 2023

Ideas in a state of suspended animation

“Another point I might elaborate on a little is about words. We tend to forget that words are, themselves, ideas. They might be called ideas in a state of suspended animation. When the words are mastered the ideas tend to come alive again.

Thus, words being symbols of ideas, we can collect ideas by collecting words. The fellow who said he tried reading the dictionary but couldn’t get the hang of the story, simply missed the point that it is a collection of short stories.”
– James Webb Young, A Technique for Getting Ideas

If you read this with an eye on your own business, you might come away with this:

  1. that those ideas that are important to your business – that they are captured in words
  2. but these words aren’t useful (“alive“) until you master them
  3. that as you master these words, stories will emerge

For a typical B2B tech firm, there are 5 to 10 such ‘most important ideas/words/terms. These tend to translate directly into core messages.

Concrete example: Mulesoft.

One of Mulesoft’s core ideas has always been connection: enterprise connection and integration between offline and online systems is easier than people always assumed.

Another core idea is transformation: There’s a systematic, cloud-based solution to connection and integration that can transform an organization.

Those are the core ideas spelled out in detail – mastering them allows for strong brand messaging:

  1. The word “Anypoint“, a brand name, conveys the Mulesoft concept of easier-than-expected connection
  2. The words  “Connect Anything, Change Everything“, a slogan, conveys the concept of transformation-through-connection

Those words belong to Mulesoft but to get them, they also had to master words that belong to everyone – like the Connection and Transformation, but also Data Synchronization, API Integration, and more.

What words does your business need to master – or has it mastered already?

The message above comes from…
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