Jan 31, 2023
Today’s episode is all about
making concepts tangible (what that means and why it matters in
life and business). I am so excited to refresh this episode for you
today because it shows how I was excited about something I didn’t
have a word for several years ago, but was already searching for.
Now I know this was at the root of my interest in cognitive
semiotics, something we are digging into on this coming Friday’s
episode with Sarah Thompson.
Cognitive semiotics may sound
super technical, but it is essentially about how the mind makes
meaning, and we talk a lot about metaphor in that conversation.
These brain associations and the concepts like a blue square or
yellow triangle, which I introduce in this episode are from George
Lakoff (I read about in his book The Political Mind, which was part of the reading in my master’s
program. I wish they would have included Metaphors We Live By as that would have changed my entire life if I
had encountered it all these years ago, but I think things turned
out ok so I’m not too mad about it.)
While I didn’t realize it at the
time, this episode from 2019 was my first real dive into cognitive
semiotics and metaphor elicitation. This episode is all about what
it means to make a concept “tangible” or a physical manifestation
or physical representation of a concept, and why that is important
for all kinds of businesses. Listen in for tips on making things
more tangible (and making it easier for people to buy from
- [00:38] Today’s episode is all
about making concepts tangible.
- [02:43] This isn’t really a
topic you can look up. There aren’t really papers or extensive
research on this naming. It is more of an acceptable premise. (As
noted in the refreshed intro, the field of cognitive semiotics is a
place to start.)
- [03:21] The brain works on
- [05:30] The physical shapes and
colors of road signs bring a physical presence that can be recalled
- [07:04] The physical
manifestation of the brand makes the business more real in your
mind because there is a logo to relate to.
- [08:18] Physical representation
can do two big things for a business. It can make an abstract
concept more real and impactful. And, it can tie back to an emotion
or memory or other association you want to remember. Abstract
concepts are everywhere in business.
- [10:12] Businesses will say
things that are more conceptual but feel tangible. That makes the
point more impactful for the customer.
- [12:50] The physical, tangible
representation can be tied to our emotional center and trigger loss
aversion. A personal example from DVDs.
- [13:35] In your business, where
could you reverse the process and find a spot to inject a physical
form where only a concept exists today to make your business more
tangible and sticky for your customers?
- [16:24] When you take something
from conceptual to tangible it makes it easier for the brain to
categorize, relate, and remember.
- [17:04] The second way that
physical representation is helpful is that it can help remind you
of associations you have made previously or of what is important to
- [19:45] A strong brand is able
to live through the lack of words and evoke feelings. They leave an
impression even without their name.
- [21:14] What could your
business do to be a constant association and reminder in the brains
of your customers?
- [21:22] One important reminder
is to note where the association is taking place and what that says
for and about your overall brand.
- [23:07] You (typically) don’t
want to be associated with the physical manifestation of a negative
- [24:47] You can strategically
create visuals around what you are wanting to do to help you
achieve your goals. What you surround yourself with has a huge
impact on your approach to life, business, and
- [25:16] Melina’s closing
- [25:33] The words and images we
use and how we can be more impactful when we are consistent in our
metaphor usage, it’s just so so important in life and
Thanks for listening. Don’t
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