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Vision Without Execution Is Hallucination… And Vice Versa

April 9, 2019

I enjoyed The Lessons Of Leonardo by Walter Isaacson, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Leonardo being, of course, Leonardo da Vinci, the famous creative genius whose best known paintings are the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Mr. Isaacson writes that Leonardo once applied for a job by listing his many engineering skills: he could design bridges, waterways, cannons, etc.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

At the end, he thought to add that he was also an artist: “Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible.”blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Hey, must be nice!!blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Leonardo was a terrific idea man, but he left many projects unfinished– which inspired this line from Mr. Isaacson: Vision without execution is hallucination.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Leonardo da Vinci dreaming of Mona Lisa in front of empty canvas on easel vision without execution is hallucination Walter Isaacson

It made me laugh, but mostly in rueful recognition: I have more than a few unfinished projects lying around myself. I suspect most artists could say the same.

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highIt occurs to me that the reverse is also true. Execution without vision is… well, maybe not hallucination, but definitely folly. We’re kidding ourselves.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Especially when it comes to brand strategy.

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highWhy do we forget this truth?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Why do we try to execute a marketing strategy (= sell our product or service) without a sensible vision?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

My theory: because “vision” is a buzzword. And it’s very hard to define something that’s become a buzzword.

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highLeonardo was good at vision. He filled notebooks with ideas (more than 7000 pages of those notebooks still exist).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I’m going to channel Leonardo and define the essential elements of an effective brand vision: what it is not, and what it should be. (You’re welcome.)blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

►it’s not saying you’re better– everyone says that; it’s being differentblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not fitting in and playing it safe; it’s taking risksblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not talking jargon; it’s being human and speaking the customer’s languageblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not acting “professional” (soulless); it’s using humor to connect emotionallyblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not making your message your top priority; it’s making sure you get noticedblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not giving employees free donuts; it’s making employees brand advocatesblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not assuming people know what you do; it’s educating them about itblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not using stock photos; it’s using images that attract attentionblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not telling the same old brand story; it’s telling it
in new waysblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

►it’s not selling yourself as an indulgence; it’s making your brand a lifestyle choiceblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

And remember, that’s not just me talking, it’s Leonardo da Vinci talking through me. 😊blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

detail image Leonardo da Vinci dreaming of Mona Lisa in front of empty canvas on easel vision without execution is hallucination Walter Isaacsonblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Angela Zimmerman, Editor-in-Chief, Crawdaddy Magazine

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2019 2:59 PM

    Genius, genius, genius! I’m going to bookmark this one. Yes, unfinished projects are everywhere. They’re physical manifestations of the future. Well, sort of. Your very wise take on this is truly helpful. Wise + helpful = GENIUS!

    Like

    • April 13, 2019 1:24 PM

      Ga-BLUSH!! 😳😳😳 Such praise!! Umm… I think I can handle it… 😂😊 Thanks a heap-o, RK! And thanks, too, for your wonderful redefinition: they’re not “unfinished projects”– they’re “physical manifestations of the future”!!– now that’s GENIUS!! Thanks again! 👍😊

      Liked by 1 person

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