Science is the study of objective reality.
Art is the study of subjective reality.
Subjective reality is perception through filters. It is interpreted reality, romanticized reality, imagined reality. It is your own personal fiction.
We’ve spoken of this before, but I think we need a refresher:
Electromagnetic waves exist regardless of whether you perceive them. They are nonfiction. But colors exist in subjective reality, as a result of transformations provided by our senses. Colors are fiction.
Vibrations traveling in air or water are objective, real, nonfiction. But sound is a fiction that exists only in our mind.
Likewise, chemicals dissolved in air or water exist in objective reality, nonfiction. But smells and tastes are purely subjective, fiction. Colors, sounds, smells and tastes do not exist, as such, outside our brains. And any associations we experience in connection with a color, sound, taste or smell are purely subjective as well.
Each of us lives in a private world that is mostly subjective fiction.
Our ability to communicate is based on the assumption that other people will interpret subjective stimuli in ways that are similar to our own. But when their reactions spring from different backgrounds and experiences, communication grows more difficult.
Color, sound, smell and taste are very convincing fictions. So convincing, in fact, that we often embrace them as “reality.” This is why we have so many arguments.
To “frame” a conversation is to set the stage for a fiction that is about to begin.
The current style of communication in America is declarative and descriptive, leaving little room for nuance or multilayered interpretation. The impact of this declarative style is often clinical and bombastic.
The heart doubts declarative statements because they tell us what to think and believe.
Evocative statements pull the answers from inside us.
Lead a person to an answer and they will usually discover it.
Lead a person to the truth and they will cling to it.
We own every truth that comes from inside us. This is why it is rare for an argument to overturn something we have realized.
If you followed Indiana Beagle down the rabbit hole last week, you saw a statement by Brandon Sanderson, “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
Sanderson may as well have been talking about evocative statements.
Look at the frontispiece of The Wizard of Ads and you’ll see The Seven Laws of the Advertising Universe. Laws 3 and 7 explain why stories are so powerfully persuasive:
“Intellect and Emotion are partners who do not speak the same language. The intellect finds logic to justify what the emotions have decided. Win the hearts of the people, their minds will follow.”
“Engage the Imagination, then take it where you will. Where the mind has repeatedly journeyed, the body will surely follow. People go only to places they have already been in their minds.”
Well-told stories win the heart and take people on journeys in their minds.
How well are you telling your stories?
The best stories have a narrative arc and a character arc.
Narrative Arc: a sequence of events that unfold; a continuing storyline that fascinates the mind.
Character Arc: a gradual deepening of our understanding of the character’s motivations, revealed by how the character thinks, speaks, acts and sees the world. The character arc is a character’s inner journey over the course of the story.
An advertising campaign is more than a series of ads.
A good campaign has a narrative arc that engages the mind of the customer, revealing layer after layer of information about your company, your product, your service.
A good campaign has a character arc that entangles the heart of the customer by allowing them to feel they understand why you do the things you do.
Does your company have an ad campaign, or have you just been running a series of ads?
Do you need to visit Wizard Academy to get a handle on this?
Come, we’ll walk you through it.
(This is the new workshop we teased you with last week.)
Roy H. Williams
Steve Strauss has been writing his weekly “Ask an Expert” column for USAToday.com for the past 20 years. He is also the author of a bestseller. The Small Business Bible, now in its third edition, has become an important resource for small business owners nationwide. Listen, learn and laugh as Roving Reporter Rotbart asks hard questions like, “What’s the most important small business tip of all?” and weird questions like, “Why do you hate the ketchup business?” Really, Rotbart asks both of those questions. And Steve Strauss answers them at MondayMorningRadio.com