Owning Sight, Sound and Soul to Create a Movement

One common mistake many marketers make is viewing their initiatives in isolation of one another. We need to realize that there is an interdependence of these many facets of our communication initiatives. For example using search technologies, examining search terms to determine what is on people’s minds can be key.

Remember: every time someone searches for something they are telling us far more than the key words they search for. They are telling us about the vernacular they use to think about brands as well as terms they are NOT using.

Some quick examples:

In performing research for a car company, we determined that in Nebraska, the top attribute around car searches was the word “performance”. Apparently, Nebraska has many wonderful roads upon which individuals like to share their scenic and performance-based drives. The dynamics of our technologies these days allows us to tailor our messages by geography, time of day, vernacular and even male vs female-based searches.

For a client in the insurance industry, we quickly determined that a breakout search term was related to “that song” used in their past broadcast spots. Apparently, people didn’t realize that Barry Gordy’s son who went by the name Rockwell in the 80’s did the original song. So, instead of simply driving people from a TV spot to the web, we used the insight that people wanted this ringtone. We then wrote the TV spot to reflect Search vernacular, and give people what they were asking for – the ringtone.

One of the biggest methodologies I co-created and carry with me is the notion of owning sight, sound and soul to create a movement. Dale Carnegie may have said it best when he said, “When dealing with people, let us remember, we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” Think of your own behaviors and apply them here. “Coke means happiness” is a much stronger proposition than “buy Coke with carbonation and high fructose corn syrup”. Coke’s brand is much stronger than the drink itself, so then is the individual’s approach to buying it.

Owning sight, sound and soul then can create a movement, not just a product purchase.
The American Cancer Society made a conscious decision to position the client as celebrating “more birthdays” vs merely asking for donations and missing loved ones lost to cancer. See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7xBIUtWZ9E

Similarly for our Walmart, they went beyond the low price leader and a bouncing, smiley face: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FODPzxzdaEs

Saving money is good, but saving money (so you can) live better is a movement.

Case in point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YriBqatN6lQ

Let’s take a look at the three components of the Movement:


Developing a graphic language around your brand so it is not only instantly recognized, but liked, enjoyed and has positive meanings in the minds of your consumers. There need to be graphic elements and focal points that trigger behaviors. I see the Mcdonald’s golden arches, feel positive about them and share my feelings with friends. Can you turn the volume on your TV to off and still recognize the brand? Are you developing the right visual cues that will be associated and owned by your brand? That is what owning sight does – the graphic language you’ve established resonates instantly in a positive fashion to the people who love you.


We all wish that people will run to the living room to watch our commercials because they like them so much. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In fact, most times people leave the room during commercials and go to another room. So, are we owning the sounds that they will associate with us? While they are in the kitchen and can’t see our ad, will they hear our pneumonic and know it’s us? Will the pneumonic or other sound cues resonate with them in the way we want it to or will it annoy them? Think of this company, do you recognize the sound? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRLyMjvug1M



Establishing the soul of your brand is key. What does it stand for? How can you make it believable? When presenting to new and existing clients my team’s thoughts on repositioning their brand, I am often asked by brand managers if their brand has the credibility to own this new position. I usually say the same thing – how did Coke own “happiness”? Aside from time and money, they were the first to say it. They conveyed the soul of their brand and where they want it to be. They set a trajectory and followed it until it got them to where they wanted to be. Often times, the soul of the brand needs to come from the inside of an organization. There is a product and/or company truth that needs to be articulated. Hopefully, you have both the will of the company’s employees and a good product. Remember, David Ogilvy may have said it best when he said, “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising”.

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