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November 16, 2006

News & Opinion: Eyes Wide Shut

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 8:52 PM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales

Heres a quick test: while youre reading this, imagine that youre at a restaurant and you are served an indulgent dessert. What is it? Write it down.
Now try the same exercise again, but this time close your eyes and transport yourself anywhere in the world. Imagine the smells, the sounds, and the kind of tastes that place evokes. Keep your eyes shut for at least fifteen seconds for the whole picture to come together in your mind. Let your dessert truly come from that place.
Now write down your answer. How is it different? Chances are that by closing your eyes and mentally putting yourself in another place, you gave your mind a chance to escape your physical surroundings. You were no longer relying on your brainpower, rather tapping into your memories and imagination, which is far more powerful. Furthermore, the success of the brand itself is often tied to the place that inspired it, and can spark similarly powerful images in the minds of consumers.
Where would you go to find one of the answers on your list? Is it a place? A decade? A state of mind? Its a funny example to try with the stapler, but Ill give it a shot. Since I know that one of my goals is to create a new and elegant design, Im going to imagine it as if it were a sculpture in a modern art gallery. Try it, too. Really close your eyes and open your mind to what that would look like.
What was yours? Mine was black and glossy, and stood up vertically. It closed like a clamshell, so that you couldnt tell it was a stapler until you opened it up.
Hmmm camouflage desk artI might be on to something.
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By Lynn Altman, author of Brand it Yourself.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.