Next Big Design: Extraordinary Experiences #8: Totally Unworthy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Extraordinary Experiences #8: Totally Unworthy.


The delicacy of meaning.

We use language to communicate, to add meaning and allow others to translate and understand. Meaning is both delicate and changing. As generations, we attach new meaning to words. Just try to explain that the word "
gay" means “happy” to your young kids. Then wait for their friends to say it in a different way and you’ll get the question, "Dad, why do people think I'm 'so' happy?"

And, there are more delicate forms of this idea. The phrase "totally unworthy" may remind you of
Wayne's World, or maybe that's just me. But you might be surprised to know that the phrase was also used in the Declaration of Independence by the founding fathers of the United States to describe the then King of England. A good example of how meaning changes throughout the years.

Now let’s get to the delicate nuances of words and how we use them in conversation. Have you ever had a moment when you couldn't tell if something was a compliment or an insult? Happens to me all the time. Here's one of my favorites from friends who knew me in college; "Wow, amazing, you actually wrote a book?"

Yes, "actually" I wrote two books. And, yes they "actually" sell in Barnes & Noble and on
Amazon.com. You get the idea, but try one of these phrases below on a Monday and the other on a Tuesday. Email me if you're not sleeping on the couch or at least getting an earful from your significant other on Tuesday.

Statement One: You look beautiful today. Response: Thank you.
Statement Two: You actually look beautiful today. Response: What did you say?

So, how does this relate to an extraordinary experience?

We had the tremendous opportunity to name a Herman Miller chair. In the world of naming, this is the Olympic marathon. We presented three sets of names; the final name chosen was Setu. The word means bridge in Hindi and also happens to be a yoga move. We landed on this because of the bridge-like spinal structure of the chair. It was also designed to take its place in the spaces in between, like hospitals, schools, airports and all the other locations between work and home. The chair bridged spaces in our lives. The name had the right meaning, and more importantly, it hurdled all international trademark clearances.

Capsule’s extraordinary moment was when we heard this name had been selected. We received accolades from our client, Herman Miller, and internal elation at another naming success. Capsule helped a client transform a word into a brand. It is the smallest of first steps, but one of the most critical to any brand.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal,
Capsule
akeller@capsule.us

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