Poetry and Ads
Poetry is a way to tell a quick story, using words that conjure up vivid images, and connect profoundly to the reader or hearer. An advertising jingle so catchy it is stuck in the heads of millions of people can start as a poem, rhyming or not, it tells the story of a brand. Sometimes, people look at the obvious ways of creating value, and forget innovative ways to do so, such as the use of poetry. Words play a role in healing, help with customer engagement, create understanding of particular communities, and encourage social activism. Brands and companies that want to more deeply engage their customers and understand how their products and services impact a community would do well to have a poet-in-residence and consider the words they use to tell their story.
Understanding the Mental Health Community
In a 2015 article on Judy Grahn's commitment to social justice and mental health issues, researchers noted that her poems "illuminate the socially constructed nature of mental illness and challenge readers to consider how and why the characters within them are deemed mentally ill. Her work remains relevant to critical conversations that illuminate contemporary issues of oppression that still haunt us today." (Rust, R. M. (2015). ""A Geography of Disparate Spirits": Pathology as Oppression in "A Woman is Talking to Death" and "Mental"." J Lesbian Stud 19(3): 367-378).
When you consider your brand, do your words challenge the reader to have a positive impact in the world? Does your product help them in ways that are relevant to their lives? There are many poignant poems that describe an event, a perspective, or an idea in a way that touches the reader's heart and encourages them to look at the world in a different way or spurs them to action.
I Have a Dream
Consider the poetic words of Martin Luther King: "I Have a Dream." Just repeating those four words can bring to mind a chain of events that may not have happened had he not been so articulate. Words well placed can change lives as well as create loyalty.
A recent National Public Radio (NPR) story highlights the ability of poets to engage the public in social action causes. In the story Breaking The Taboo Of Talking About Periods, Chhavi Schdev and the organizers call for short stories, poems, and verse about menstruation. Poets can lead the way in talking about anything including taboos that affect the lives of women and men everywhere. The program was launched by a group of medical students at the Calicut Medical College in the southern state of Kerala.
Does your brand and advertising break taboos, talk about important topics, or support healing? Do you understand the lives of the people you want to be your customers?
Another Medline article highlights the way poems can be a window into a community, describing the words of community members as "poems-as-data." Researchers went on to say, "Participatory narrative analysis was used to empower participants to produce texts to make sense of their lives and their home, school, and neighborhood contexts." The researchers engaged community "youth as co-researchers and experts in issues pertaining to their own neighborhood," and noted "Nuanced analyses of poems-as-data is shown to be critical in informing the recent surge of interdisciplinary, community-engaged, place-based initiatives focused on neighborhood revitalization, violence prevention, and positive youth development." (Dill, L. J. (2015). "Poetic justice: engaging in participatory narrative analysis to find solace in the "killer corridor"." Am J Community Psychol 55(1-2): 128-135).
Bridging the Generation Gap
Poetry writing community events can also bridge the gap between generations, cultural, ethnic and class differences. Words can put the focus on differences or shared interests. Words can encourage peaceful engagement and war.
In one study researchers paired senior citizens with university students in creative arts and language projects. The program benefited both groups increasing health, connection as opposed to isolation, and understanding of the other. In this program, "professional dramaturgical processes of storytelling, reminiscence, and playfulness were key elements in participants' generative learning. They augmented older adults' and university students' ability to understand their situations and try innovative solutions. Skills such as openness, flexibility, and adaptation transferred into students' and older adults' daily lives." Researchers concluded, "participating in this intergenerational theatre group reduced ageism and improved intergenerational relationships. It increased older adults' and university students' well-being by building social networks, confidence, and self-esteem and developed a sense of social justice, empathy, and support for others." (Anderson, S., J. Fast, et al. (2016). "Translating Knowledge: Promoting Health Through Intergenerational Community Arts Programming." Health Promot Pract).
Self-Esteem and Confidence Customers
When you consider your marketing are you using words that encourage well-being, confidence, and self-esteem?
Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)
Life spirals. As a 28-year-old photographer, Kimberly Burnham appreciated beauty. Then an ophthalmologist diagnosed her with a genetic eye condition saying, "Consider what your life will be like if you become blind." Devastating words trickling down into her soul, she discovered a healing path with insight, magnificence, and vision. Today, a poet and neurosciences expert with a PhD in Integrative Medicine, Kimberly's life mission is to change the face of global brain health. Using health coaching, poetry, Reiki, Matrix Energetics, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, and energy medicine, she supports people in their healing from brain, nervous system, chronic pain, and eyesight issues. http://www.NerveWhisperer.Solutions/
To have Kimberly Burnham consult with your organization or serve as your poet-in-residence contact her at NerveWhisperer@gmail.com
Kimberly Burnham, Poet In Residence Program
How would your public image change if your organization had a poet-in-residence, like Dartmouth, New York City, Dalhousie Medical School, the Natural History Museum, Walt Whitman House, or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation? Do you have the power to make it happen?