The Power of Three

It’s at this time of the year that we pause and reflect. And what a year it’s been. Era defining? Politically the most divisive?

You may have woken up on the 13th December thinking that politics and democracy had won the day. I would argue that it was nothing of the sort, but down to the winning communications formula of the power of three.

To explain. We have been conditioned from an early age to respond to the power of three…Three Blind Mice…Three Wise Men…Three Little Pigs. Then we move into later life and the power of three is everywhere in the words we hear and take on board... blood, sweat, and tears…mind, body, spirit…Friends, Romans, Countrymen…Veni, vidi, vici…there’s even Tom, Dick and Harry.

Is it because we like patterns? And that three is the smallest number to make a pattern?

Then if so, we appreciate and respond to the simplest of patterns.

It is there in what we do as marketers. The power of three.

A potent example of this is when the most important safety message is needed to inform the public, it is done in 3…Stop, Look, Listen…Keep Britain Tidy…Slip, Slap, Slop.

The most ingrained, easily recalled advertising slogans use it…A Mars a day, helps you 'work', 'rest' and 'play'…Snap, Crackle and Pop…Beanz Meanz Heinz…Vorsprung Durch Technik…Just Do It (I could go on, but if you have more, add something in the comments box, to collate the definitive guide to the power of 3). Think about yourself, when you’re looking for a house or flat to rent or buy? Location, location, location.

Dominic Cummings the strategist behind the leave campaign would have learnt this as an experienced communicator and a scholar of political history. Possibly the most famous political oratory of all time, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, contained the lines “of the people, by the people, for the people"; through to the cry of the French Revolution…Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

More recently, communications were used as the essential tool in the Blair years (the birth of the spin doctor), with an era defining mantra…education, education, education.

Taking these on board, as stated earlier, it’s the power of three that won the political battle. Simple communications have the simplest messaging, through the simplest of patterns and are therefore easily digested, bringing us to the trilogy of lines for our modern times:

Take back control

Brexit means Brexit

Get Brexit Done

Communicators, marketers, copywriters take note…there is power in three.

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