Every ten days the teacher placed a new slogan on her desk at the front of the class. Her students knew better than to ask what they meant. “The best start in life I can give my students”, the teacher told her colleagues “is to give them enquiring minds”.

One day the Chief Inspector of Schools for the county came to visit. “Don’t get up children” he said as he entered the classroom, “please continue with your work”.  The inspector walked over to the teacher’s desk and noticing the piece of card with her slogan on it, picked it up and read it out loud. However he must have had a puzzled look on his face because a young boy who happened to be standing by the teacher’s desk said “don’t worry Mister, you’ll get it in a couple of weeks”!

I tell this story because I believe that when it comes to changing the mindset of others, one of the best communication techniques is to tell stories and use images that are not always one hundred percent self-explanatory. The reason is because during the process of deciphering what the story might mean the recipient goes on a journey of self-discovery that allows him or her to grasp and remember the key underlying message in a way that no other communication technique can.

Back in 1984 I remember when Charles Saatchi’s advertising agency came up with possibly the most amazing and highly successful billboard advertising campaigns ever; rocketing a cigarette manufacturer’s product up to the number one slot.  It utilized no text or brand logos, no image of the product; nothing – just the image that you see at the head of this blog (you can click on it the find a larger example).  The cigarette company’s directors were extremely happy with the agency, especially as they were working in a time when it was illegal to mention or show cigarettes in any kind of advert!  Just in case you didn’t know already, the make of the cigarettes was ‘Silk Cut’. Simple but brilliant

Have a good week,