Words first: the long path to the short cut

Words first: the long path to the short cut

All forms of my work are about creating connections between intended messages and intended recipients. And that means understanding something about how brains work. One of the most common setbacks I see new clients struggling with is being hung up on a visual design—whether it’s a visual identity/logo, a pitch deck, or website design—that doesn’t feel right and can’t be articulated.

Rushing to focus on visual design caters to the brain’s love of shortcuts; it also short-circuits the critical journey of articulating the story that needs to be told.

“Words first” is a mantra I use (mantras are short-cuts, too). It encapsulates my approach to communication and messaging, which begins with story first. The logic of the storytelling must come before everything else in communication. Logic is the journey of a story, and when we begin with a clear view of the path between a message’s source and its intended destination, articulation in both words and images becomes streamlined.

Yet, the story is often difficult to see, the path may be concealed by fog, overgrowth, or weeds.

  • It can be foggy when an organization is trying to go in a new, uncharted direction.
  • It can become overgrown if it has not been tended to for a while.
  • It gets weedy when new forces invade the landscape—new players, new technology, pandemics.

This is my wheelhouse. A well-honed process of story discovery is most valuable in fuzzy situations by helping to find the “through line”—the necessary logic—of the message that needs to be conveyed. Whether you are struggling to develop a powerful investor-pitch deck, to align a brand, or to create a website that achieves goals, the Phrase Strategy approach provides illumination and clarity of direction.

What can you expect?

  • If I’m coaching you to create and deliver a powerful investor pitch, I’ll ask you to forget about your current slide deck and will provide a new, blank storyboard template that we’ll develop together.
  • If a new or refreshed brand is needed, I will begin with the Essential Story, and that story will shape everything else, from brand design to web strategy.
  • When it’s time to rollout a new website, my team and I will build the logic (content architectures, user flows, and wireframes) before engaging the designers.

By the time we arrive at the visual-design stage, you and your team will be so clear about the story, its logic, and the journey, that all other decisions will fall easily into place—and that is a shortcut of great value!

Please CONTACT ME if any of this rings true for you, your brand, or your organization.