Articulation Tuesday: The Application of Narrative and Vocabulary

We’ve said that Articulation at sr4 means “the application of narrative and vocabulary as key levers in the activation, acceleration and optimization of intentions.” And we’ve talked about what “narrative” means. Now let’s talk about “vocabulary.”

When we use the word “vocabulary,” we’re not thinking about sentences, paragraphs or overarching messages; we’re thinking about stand-alone words, the fewer the better. In a world of shorter attention spans, a word that resonates can achieve more than a comprehensive discussion. For example, take a speech given by George W. Bush in September 2004.  

He was running for reelection as “a war President.” His pollsters believed he had maxed out the bellicose vote, and should focus on winning the support of more undecided moms.

So for his acceptance speech on the final night of his party’s nominating convention, his speechwriters focused on the theme of “for the children.” The word “child” or “children” appeared 14 times in the speech, compared to only 3 for Al Qaida and 1 for Taliban. Scattered throughout the speech were sentences like these:

I believe every child can learn and every school must teach.”

“Many of our children and grandchildren understandably worry whether Social Security will be there when they need it.” 

“We must help our children reach as far as their vision and character can take them. 

“Tonight, I remind every parent and every teacher, I say to every child: No matter what your circumstance, no matter where you live, your school will be the path to the promise of America.”

“We will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the government's health insurance programs.”

“Because a caring society will value its weakest members, we must make a place for the unborn child.”

“I've held the children of the fallen who are told their dad or mom is a hero, but would rather just have their dad or mom.”

Public polling post-convention showed a 13 percent bump for the Bush campaign. The acceptance speech was given a lot of credit for that – thanks more to the repetition of the words “child” or “children” than to any specific promises. Try it yourself. Say these words out loud and listen to how it sounds:

“For the children.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

You have words like that. The question is, are you leveraging them to activate your intentions, accelerate their uptake, and optimize their results? That’s what an Articulation strategy is for.