The Power of Context

Posted in: Brand Reputation, Creative

On: March 2, 2015

Consider this picture.


It’s epic funnyman Bill Murray, an actor whose reputation has only grown with his eccentricities. Behind him is the late Hunter S. Thompson, legendary writer, drug taker and social commentator.

But you probably knew that. You already had context established for these guys. They are, for many people, interesting and cool characters. People who left a mark, however quirky, on the world. Maybe you’ve seen Murray’s movies or read Thompson’s books, or maybe you only have some vague awareness because their respective personas are part of the larger pop culture ether.  Either way, you know them.

But change the context. Look at this picture again – now it’s Doug from shipping and Walter from HR at the company’s summer picnic at the lake. They are wearing matching t-shirts from the three-legged race. They are taking the Boss’s boat out for a slow speed cruise close to shore. Does the photo still seem as cool and interesting?


Probably not. Now it looks kind of banal, maybe even silly. It’s certainly not weighted with cultural meaning.

That’s the power of context.

Have you set the right context for your brand?  If not, all your communications and marketing efforts may be wasted if your audience is not equipped to receive them in the ways you want.

Setting context is fundamental to marketing success. Don’t leave it to chance.

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