You Break It, You Own It – Thomas Friedman’s “Pottery Barn Rule”

How do you explain an abstract concept so people “get it?” Just ask the 3-time Pulitzer Prize winning author of such best selling books as The World is Flat and The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

In his speeches, Thomas Friedman uses the “Pottery Barn Rule” of “You break it, you own it” to describe his stance on the War in Iraq. The result? An abstract concept crystallizes in the minds of the audience.

Friedman’s quotes have been referenced by such thought-leaders as Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the online anyone-can-contribute encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Such references only increase Friedman’s credibility and expertise on the subject.

Want another example of a company who made their concept concrete by turning the abstract into an image?

When a group of preschoolers was asked what sounds animals made, they gave the usual answers: sheep – baa, cows – moo, horses – neigh, and so on. When asked what sound ducks made, they said….”Aflac!

Do you have a nonsensical business name? Are you presenting an abstract topic? Take notes from Thomas Freidman and Aflac and turn your abstract concept into a concrete image by connecting the unknown to something it looks like or sounds like in the real world. When your audience says “Oooh, I see now,” or “Ahh, now I get it” – you’re in business.

Want more? Visit www.samhornPOP.com
Want to schedule an interview with Sam Horn, author of POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd (Perigee)? Contact Cheri Grimm, Sam Horn’s business manager at info@samhorn.com

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