Words Are Not Just Words. Marketing Is Not “Just Marketing”.
Despite words being simply the vocal sounds we make to express ideas, they themselves over time have come to hold those same ideas intrinsically. Becoming linked in a way that would not be easy to understand to a life form without language. And, though, I wish I could say all words are equal, that is not the case.
Some words hurt. Some words offend. Some raise up people. Others squash people down. But some words, some words are so special—so ingrained—that they have power.
Deep power. The ability to spur thought in the single instant of the reading/hearing of it. Some of these words can, and do, get tossed around in common parlance, and yet when invoked with the right intonation they have the same oomph as any fantasy spell shouted with a wand.
You can think of a few of these on your own, I’m sure.
Context is everything. But these words, in the right moment, at the right volume: are immensely powerful. And today, I am talking about the one which any fan of Braveheart knows:
What a contentious word. The republicans and the democrats and the libertarians and the communists all argue about it, and what it means. From person to person, of all stripes, from the librarians at Clearwater Public Library to those who purchase guns at our ranges, from servicemen and servicewomen who fight for us, and to the criminals behind bars: the word has a unique, personal meaning.
Freedom from things. Freedom to do things. At a bar, you can drink. At a hookah lounge, you can hookah. At a library, you are free from loud noises. At a shelter, you are free from the storm. Anarchy is absolute freedom, but so is a void.
But the sweet spots between those deep extremes, those we chase. We desire them above all things. Humans, even beyond our biological needs, grasp for new freedoms. Freedom from suffering and all things we despise.
And marketing knows this. Marketing is the art of knowing what people want and trying to supply it. And though, like I said, freedom is a thing unique to all people in its meaning, that does not mean advertisers and marketing executives do not try to bottle the essence of it into products.
The Marketing Words Are “Supply” And “Demand”.
“Freedom from” is the most common. “Freedom for” is the other. Labor-saving and timesaving devices are the hallmark of our modern age and what we want out of our consumer goods. And then, as it became a necessary supplement, we also wanted, and still want, freedom from the crushing boredom that results in not enough things left to do.
Freedom is the most powerful force for changing the world. And for defining human endeavor and creation. So, in all you do, if you sell, or market, or just seek to understand the whims of the people—even when it seems counterintuitive—remember the core desire of freedom. Know that though some may see the camera as a warden, others see it as a protector. When people feel they are in a box, they want a ladder out. And when people feel like they need to hide, they want somewhere safe to go.
And remember, perhaps most of all, how powerful a single word can be regardless of whoever wields it.
If you liked this article, you can read more of Brandon Scott’s work on The Hive, or at his website: www.coolerbs.com