Imagine (Issue 945)

In which we are reminded that stories, particularly imaginary "hero's journey" stories, are powerful vehicles for communicating the value of our products and services.

Some time ago, one of my friends decided to marry. His intended bride was in theater, professionally, an actress. Very dramatic. The wedding was planned for an equally dramatic and expansive Gothic revival church, dedicated in 1914, many guests expected. I was honored to join the groom‘s party. We would be in Full Evening Dress for the occasion – white tie and tails.

 Feeling a bit frisky and inspired to provide a counterpoint to the evening’s formality, I decided to show up a bit early at the church to pay my respects to the bride. So, I put on the starched shirt with wing tip collar, the white bow tie, the Pique waistcoat, and black dress coat with tails and decided the rest of my outfit would be red gym shorts and boat shoes. In a moment of inspiration, I also decided to go for full 1920’s-style theatrical face makeup which I finished with a swish of sparkly gold glitter on both cheeks.

I found my way through the labyrinth of subterranean Gothic revival hallways to the room where the bride was preparing to dress for the ceremony. I stepped fully into the room, and greeted her. She looked me up and down, smiled, and said, very evenly, “Hello, Nick,” and then went back to her preparations. Very cool under pressure, I thought.

I retired to a distant rest room to wash my face and slip into the remaining Full Evening Dress paraphernalia. Back into role, I did my part during the ceremony and went to the reception.

Circled there with three friends, we welcomed a fourth who had been unable to join us for the service. She smiled at us, looked in my direction, then sidled up to me and, in a deep stage whisper expressing both bemusement and disapproval, she said, “Nick, you still have glitter on your face.”

Speaking of glitter…

Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen two weeks ago uploaded to YouTube a video encouraging us to adapt hospital “sterile technique” as a covid-19 virus safety protocol when bringing groceries or take-out food into our homes. He could have done “talking head” to explain then-current thinking about virus transmission, using slides to list the steps and the benefits of sterile technique. Likely audience response – maybe 1000 views.

Instead, he said, “Imagine that your groceries are covered with some glitter. And your goal, at the end of this, is to not have any glitter in your house, on your hands, or, especially, on your face. And imagine that disinfectants and soap have the power to dissolve that glitter.” And then, step by step, he demonstrated the process. Audience response. Nearly 26 million views.

It’s the hero’s journey, right? “Imagine there’s a big dragon out there, threatening the village. And your job, at the end of this, is to slay the dragon and protect the village. And imagine that the sword you have in your hand has certain magical powers. Let me show you…”

It’s an easy step from there to any product or service we might be offering. “Imagine….”

Nick Miller  trains banks and bankers to attract and expand relationships with business clients. More profitable relationships, faster. He is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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