Geniuses use everyday items in unexpected ways, transforming ordinary items into something extraordinary.
Something as ordinary as language — that medium we use to connect with others everyday — is elevated to convey ideas, to establish rapport, to inspire and generate energy.
So, I decided to write a series of articles on the power of words, the way geniuses use them so the rest of us could benefit.
I have finally gone ahead and created one collective post with highlights and links so you don’t have to hunt and peck.
1. The Power of Words
In this first post, I wrote about a video and a message that has garnered over 23 million views worldwide with over 138,000 comments.
In recognition of this amazing usage of language, I was inspired to write this first post for the series.
“Look at your branding and its messaging.
“Does it inspire? Does it captivate? Does it do more than merely inform or use cool phrases? Is your brand fluid enough to remain interesting in a variety of settings?
“Crafting choice words and a well told story is an art, one that is worth its weight in gold — the gold here being consumer loyalty, higher retention, more click-throughs — in short, rising above the noise.
“As ad legend David Ogilvy said, ‘Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.’ One shortcut is finding pieces that move YOU. Collect them. Study them. Ask yourself what about them inspires you. Get very passionate.
“Soon enough, you’ll surprise yourself and start crafting your own inspirations that others will want to copy.”
2. Speaking with Authority
Speaking with authority can crush small thinking and average approaches.
As I wrote in this post, “Stop blaming words. That just doesn’t fly anymore.
“Words aren’t to blame for a failure to communicate, any more than the sneakers in an Olympic marathon caused the runner to win or lose. Or the bat caused the winning home run. No. It’s how the originator of those words uses them which gives them power — or leaves them as ineffective as a Speedo on a Sumo wrestler. It’s how they’re used or how they’re shown.”
3. Words that Transport You
What if some beautifully arranged words were told in a way that transported to another time and place. See how this genius achieved this exact result.
4. Words That Sell
This real-world example of how a small change can an enormous difference in sales.
5. Using Words to Inspire and Unite
Following an amazing Super Bowl ad entitled “So God Made a Farmer” for Dodge RAM, I decided to emulate it with a spinoff which was featured on Fast Company.
In short, this script celebrated designers in a similar way.
As I’d written for Fast Company, “Good designers are hard to come by—and they bust their asses to get good solutions embraced by clients (whether it’s a poster, package design, or fashion)…. So I was determined to figure out what could be said about fellow designers that would recognize and validate the work and efforts of those who have this calling? You know, like farmers…?”
Read the script and see the video here.
6. How to Outsmart Stupid Ideas (and put them in their rightful place)
Results that words can (and should) achieve.
Remember, “I have a dream…” — why do Martin Luther King’s words cut like a knife into the hearts and minds of everyone who’s ever heard them? Those words left an indelible mark on a new generation of minds and hearts.
It’s important to know why, and how, words can change minds and empower people. If you’re a local florist – a vanity number from a place like Ringboost.com with a FLOWERS acronym makes it that much easier to remember when it’s Valentine’s day and you forgot flowers. This post gives you an amazing video with a short exercise you can do for yourself or your brand.
7. How a 10-year-old Boy Saved the World
By now, you’ve probably heard of Kid President whose overriding message is “Let’s make the world awesome.”
His message and use of words work because it’s 1) simple and 2) inclusive. That simplicity and approach is its genius.
His messages cheer each of us on to reach in and unleash our inner goodness.
And Kid President’s message and delivery is infectious in his own playful way using words: dancing is awesome; pizza is awesome; dancing pizza is awesome, etc.
8. Words. Their Meaning. Their impact.
Words to me are like ingredients in a recipe.
In the hands of a master chef, ordinary food becomes a masterpiece of deliciousness than in the hands of someone less skilled.
So when I ran across this video by the late great Red Skelton, it transformed something I’d previously heard over 1,000 times, yet after this video, I would say I probably heard it truly for the first time.
9. Knowing When to Step Back from What You’re Writing
Size does matter.
Here is a lesson to not get so close to your brand and message that you lose all perspective — resulting in a message that might be something other than what you intended.
10. Helping Words Become Better Storytellers
At 40 seconds, you’ll never see this word the same way again.
At 1:21, you’ll see a lodge like you’ve never seen one before (without ever seeing a picture of the lodge).
At 1:45, you’ll watch a word say more in one second than an entire wing of the Library of Congress.
And the last sequence will remind you why we write in the first place. Check out this video and post here.
11. Knowing When to Exceed Expectation
I was minding my own business when I saw this sign in front of a small fresh food market. The result? I went in to find out what this was all about. To discover what I learned, you just have to read this post.
12. The Power of Words (and Video)
This post shared a brilliant video on the history of typography while simultaneously Weird Al Yankovic did a brilliant parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” — in short, kick your feet up and enjoy these few minutes of brilliance to see how words should be used to power up your message as demonstrated by these two geniuses.
13. Words, Brilliance, Inspiration
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” Robin Williams
Robin Williams was a master of the spoken word, taking unlikely words/meanings/concepts and pairing them together to unleash new views and ideas to inspire and amuse us all.
Master impressionist Jim Meskimen created a video in honor of Robin when he passed away, channeling the brilliant wit of Williams this touching video which has gotten over 550,000 views.
14: Using Humor
This last in this series tackles humor and interest.
While so much is written each and every day, few blocks of text thrill the reader or succeed in generating a real buzz.
Candidly, most are boring crap, resulting in my clicking rapidly onto something else, or inciting me to start scanning really fast, so I hopefully succeed (like a search party) in quickly finding something — anything — in my state of heightened desperation. Below is one example of how great an ordinary idea can be transformed. To see the rest, click here.
In summary, words are tools.
They can change minds.
They can bridge differences.
They can inspire dreams.
To do less is like drinking decaf: a waste of time and effort.