Mel Sokotch

Mandarin, Clutter and Positioning

Mandarin: Chinese kids typically learn elementary math faster than American kids. One reason is this: Numbers in Mandarin have fewer syllables than numbers in English. And words with fewer syllables are easier to remember; they require less memory.

Clutter: The estimates of the number of ads we get exposed to daily range from the many hundred to the several thousand. The president of Yankelovich, the big research house, has suggested that a person living in a city might get as many as 5,000 a day. But whatever the real number is, it's big. The reason: digital technology and the rapid expansion of media channels and advertising ubiquity it spawned.

Positioning: If it's easier to remember shorter words, then it's easier to remember shorter phrases, shorter ideas, and shorter positionings. Especially when the positioning--or its advertising expression--is competing with thousands of messages a day. Here are 5 good examples, none more than 10 words:

1.   Crestor: The cholesterol medicine that slows plaque build-up. (7 words)

2.   FOX: The cable network with a conservative bent. (7)

3.   CHUNKY: The soup that's so hearty, it can be a meal. (10)

4. Williamsburg, VA: The place where one can experience coloniial America (8)

If you can articulate your brand's positioning in 10 words or less, Congratulations! If you can't, stop what you're doing, and get it fixed. You're missing an opportunity, and you're probably giving your competition an opening. 

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