This simple projective technique can help you find the ideas and the words you need to take your brand and your marketing content to the next level.
“One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.” – James Earl Jones
Today, we build our brands through content.
Whether it’s a website, a blog, a sales page, or a social media post, the words we choose to bring our brands to life matter. It can be the difference between an active, engaged following, and…crickets.
But let’s be honest. Not all of us are born writers. In fact, most of us struggle with putting our thoughts and feelings into words.
When I launched my brand, I knew exactly who I wanted to serve and how I wanted to serve them. But it wasn’t always easy finding the right words to communicate the value I was trying to bring them.
Maybe, like me, you’ve found yourself tongue-tied when you’re trying to describe your brand and what it delivers, or you’ve struggled to create marketing content that helps you stand out and makes your brand difference clear.
Sometimes we need a little help finding the right words to bring the vision for our brand out into the world.
So, I want to introduce a fun, simple way to help you find the words you’re looking for.
Use Pictures To Find The Right Words
This is a simple, projective technique I’ve used for years with my clients (and now for myself!) with great results. This technique is based on science that shows human beings are visual first and verbal second.
Why is that? Because as we evolved, we survived by being able to see and respond to threats in our environment before there was language to name said threats (like say...a hungry tiger…) so our brains are wired to think in visuals before we think in words. In fact, half of the human brain is directly or indirectly devoted to processing visual information.
Now, you can use this quirk of evolution to your benefit by using pictures to find the words you're searching for.
A Simple Projective Technique
First, here’s what you’ll need.
A poster sized Post-It board – or a clear space on a wall or whiteboard.
Small post-it notes
A stack of magazines (make sure you have a wide variety, covering lots of different topics. I like to choose magazines with plenty of advertisements in them for even more visual fodder).
Now, write down the question(s) or theme you’re struggling to articulate. As an example, I used the following questions to help me get clear on some branding basics so I could find the right way to talk about my brand:
If my brand were a person…
What would it aspire to?
What would it say?
What would it believe?
How would it behave?
What kind of personality would it have?
You can use this technique to get clarity on how to write or talk about any number of things, for example:
What topics should I cover in my blog or on my social media?
Who is my brand for?
What does my brand sound like?
Why is my brand unique?
Next, spend 30-45 minutes QUICKLY scanning different magazines for images that help you answer these questions. DON’T OVERTHINK IT! If an image jumps out at you, pull it and put it aside for analysis later. If you can’t find the right image, It’s OK to pull headlines or call outs.
Finally, tape all of your images on to your poster board. Using post-it notes, quickly write down the reason you pulled each image. What did the image say to you? What theme or idea or feeling did it bring up in you? What did the image communicate for you?
And, voila! Words! Phrases! Ideas!
A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words
I told you it was simple – but I can say with confidence it’s highly effective.
Images help our minds make sense of complex ideas. They “speak a thousand words” – which we can harvest and leverage to help find the right ones for our marketing and sales copy. And, they open new avenues of communicating what’s deep in our hearts.
So, the next time you find yourself sitting at your keyboard, struggling with what to write or how to say what’s in your head or your heart, give yourself a helping hand by using pictures to find the right words.
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