It’s not only what you say, it’s how you say it. In fact the “how” significantly impacts the “what.” Don’t tell me how cool you are, show me. The choice of medium plays an important role in how your story is told.
Example #1: Stock Choice
What does the choice of laser engraved wood (vs. traditional paper) tell you about this wedding? It’s not a stretch to think there will be drinks served in mason jars and a banjo player at this wedding. What if this was simply sent out on white paper in Times New Roman font?
Example #2: Packaging
Biggie Smalls is a branding agency. When they’re looking for new business they send out Biggie Smalls Briefs to prospective clients. These are literally boxer briefs playing on the idea of a “creative brief.” It’s witty and creative. But more importantly it positions Biggie Smalls as witty and creative, without them blatantly saying it, and that’s the point.
Example #3: The Office
If you didn’t know about Google and entered this office, what would you think about the company? Of course you wouldn’t know what they do, but you would likely be swayed to think they’re a creative company based solely on the interior design.
Example #4: Simplicity
In 1508, Pope Julius II was searching for the right artist to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The story goes that when the Pope asked Michelangelo for proof of his talent, he replied by drawing a perfect circle, free-hand. Simplicity is a powerful message. When used correctly, simplicity shows confidence and mastery of design. Many people are uncomfortable with blank space, always wanting to fill it. It’s easy to fill empty space, to add complexity, the real challenge is creating something simple that is equally powerful.
The Medium Is The Message
Companies toil in endless meetings over what their message is, discussing taglines and positioning statements to a point of seemingly unattainable refinement. However once the message is finalized it’s slapped onto a press release or website with little thought as to how the message should be communicated. The same amount of time spent crafting a story should be put into how a story is told.