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  • Lou Killeffer

Micro-Scripts: The Ultimate Branding Machine?

Oceans of ink and even more pixels have been spilled in trying to engage consumers to simply listen and hear what a brand has to say. The desire to know what to say and how to say it to actually break through, to capture a nanosecond of legitimate attention, has defeated countless companies and marketers, to say nothing of their ad agencies, for years. Just how does one consistently connect with people?

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Maybe the answer somehow lies in how we process everything we see and hear. How we filter, sort, and make sense of the constant stimulus swimming around us, minute by minute, and day by day. And how and why we acquire what we do, remember it, and then, often enough, repeat it. In this way, it's clear marketing’s most urgent objective is to enter memory. Period.

So how do you get something to replay in someone’s head? Or, more pointedly, why does Nike’s “Just Do It.” work so well, while “Impossible Is Nothing.” from Adidas doesn’t?

Billy Schley, the Rosser Reeves of Rowayton, knows full well and he shares all in The Micro-Script Rules: How to tell your story (and differentiate your brand) in a sentence…or less. Bill’s a good friend, a gifted copywriter, a raconteur, and a blue water sailor, screenwriter, and sky diver to boot. His book, like Bill, is both critically thoughtful and wildly entertaining. And what he has to say is short, simple, and uniquely useful.

Begin at the Beginning: Heuristics

Behavioral scientists, psychologists like Gerd Gigerenzer in his book Gut Feelings, and perhaps most famously pop intellectual Malcom Gladwell in his Blink, have long known that in moments of crisis we shift from normal reasoning to an unconscious intelligence because we lack the luxury of time. At such moments, our intuition kicks in, employing a somewhat built-in set of heuristics, or rules of thumb, that we use as fundamental guidelines to get to the best outcome. In this way, we confidently make snap decisions, with limited information, before all the facts and our accompanying analysis are in.

So when things get complicated or complex, as they so often do, we’re pre-programmed to employ and embrace these rules of thumb that simplify things by embracing a smaller, more vital set of data, what Bill calls, “the facts at the heart of the matter”.

Less is More

He goes on to explain that we obviously use our rules of thumb, not just in crisis mode, but to literally make sense of the never-ending flow of each and every day. Quickly, consistently, and unconsciously because our brains love to work this way - naturally defaulting to “fast and frugal” as we take what we need and leave the rest and get on with our lives. This insight is essential to understanding how messaging flows, how ideas are exchanged, and how learning works – because it’s how we work.

And Bill makes clear this is true not only in the advertising arena but in every aspect of all communications everywhere - across art, religion, politics, society, and the culture at large. In fact, he breaks impressive new ground as the first person to join Johnny Cochran, Donald Trump, the Ten Commandments, Debbie Does Dallas, and Huggies in support of his quite singular premise!

The "Universal Theory of Everything"

Finally, as Bill explains, a successful micro-script proceeds from the central, most important aspect of any problem, opportunity, or issue. And to be clear, what’s always central is the truth, and “The truth is simple...And keeping it simple is how you make others understand it and act on it.”

Herewith, the eight rules of the road in pursuing your own micro-script:

  • There is only ONE center

  • It is always SIMPLE – or it’s not the center

  • The center aligns everything that comes after it

  • It’s energizing and exciting for anyone who finds it

  • Revealing it to others is the key to all leadership

  • You must be able to say it in a few short words

  • You find it by repeatedly asking the simplest of questions, again and again

  • No new technology or device changes these rules

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