The blog team is feeling compelled to share today – as well as being writers through and through who appreciate the work of our peers in the online journalistic space, we are fans of interesting language, visual and popular culture, iconography, communications and unique approaches to the design of business and marketing strategies. As such, we couldn’t pass up this fascinating article over at Slate.com, which happens to hit a whole bunch of those checkboxes.
In short – businesses with a public presence occasionally go out of their way to create a visual, linguistic or auditory “hook” or “earworm” that sticks in your mind long after your first association with their brand. These can be the fruits of expensive and pervasive marketing campaigns – or they could be happy accidents that have simply lived long enough to become a part of the identity of a particular business. The human brain is good at picking out weird and abnormal things, but it also integrates them into its processing of the world over time: have you ever done that cognitive test where you try to read a sentence in which all the letters of the words are jumbled except for the first and last ones – and it feels totally normal?
It’s basically like that.
Some businesses have solidified their entire brands or public identities around unconventional grammatical or syntactic choices that have stuck around and, through this minor form of cognitive dissonance, become accepted and read as normal by consumers. The drive to appear unique, while simultaneously remaining familiar and on-trend, has become a huge part of public life – how else can you explain the swelling ranks of children named with unconscionable numbers and combinations of vowels, or every possible variation of “Braden”? The keen eyes at Slate dug into this phenomenon as it relates to some iconic North American businesses, and the results are certainly worth a read.