Volume XXI, Number 29 (Issue 1033) July 17, 2023
Iconography, (n), is usually defined as an image or symbol, frequently found in a work of art, which evokes a certain thought or feeling within the viewer. Such icons are routinely associated with an individual, cult, movement, situation, or religious construct. Since many rely heavily on our vision for information about the world that surrounds us, it is little wonder then that each of us finds a host of iconography within our daily life.
For instance, something most have experienced and can therefore relate to is the iconography to be found in religious settings. There, the icons meant to trigger our thoughts and feelings might be present in a painting, a statue, a hymn, text, the very design and architecture of the facility, or what have you. Regardless of the medium, the objective of such icons is to provide a connection and convey a message that all might experience and reflect upon.
Of course, icons and iconic messages are not confined to the world’s religions or an individual’s religious encounters. Most non-religious organizations invest heavily in developing and communicating their logo and brand. According to one source, an effective logo grabs attention, makes a positive first impression, fosters recognition, provides differentiation, conveys a message, fosters loyalty, and helps build trust. In other words, iconography. Another source says the best logos are simple, relevant, memorable, timeless, and versatile. The point is logos are meant to be synonymous with brand identity and as such, they evoke strong feelings and hopefully, positive connections between the viewer and the organization. Create a strong enough connection and the stakeholder/customer would fight rather than switch.
Another, potentially powerful form of iconography tends to be much more unique and personal. For me, the sights and sounds of young children laughing and playing inevitably invokes a host of positive thoughts and warm feelings. I am also a huge fan of certain breeds of dogs including Labrador and Golden Retrievers and most of the hound breeds – having owned and raised such animals for much of my life. Thus, when I see one of those breeds of dogs, I cannot help but smile. Another trigger for me and I imagine many of you is the unique beauty to be found in nature. For example, Sandy and I recently had the pleasure of spending time in the Rocky Mountain National Park while visiting our oldest daughter. RMNP, with its breathtaking views, range of topography, and assorted flora, fauna, and wildlife is nothing short of magical. President Theodore Roosevelt did us all a solid in establishing the National Park System.
With the preceding as backdrop, the first point I wish to make is that for each of us, there are a host of sights, sounds, tastes, smells – all tied to specific experiences that we have had that can immediately invoke specific thoughts and strong feelings. Regrettably, not all past experiences result in positive connections. But good or bad, current encounters trigger emotions to match. That is, until they do not. Yes, first impressions matter. Good encounters create warm and positive feelings much the same as a bad first experience causes us to seek a different solution.
So, what happens when an encounter does not align with one’s history? Might an enormous amount of goodwill and positive vibes be lost in an instant? The simple answer is it depends.
Let me give you a for instance. Our family has been doing business with one organization for forty-nine years. During that time, the strength and breadth of our relationship and connection has expanded and deepened – until now. Without going into detail, our new reality is that in the span of a couple of weeks, a single box checked by one of that company’s contractors on a four-page form started us down a rocky path. Combine that with rigid adherence to a policy that my experience tells me could have been waived and, in a relative instant, our opinion of that organization has been severely damaged – possibly irreparably. The lesson, the reminder, for you and me is two-fold. First, if you want to earn and retain someone’s goodwill, make finding solutions to their problems a top priority. Next, consistency is a must. Only one slip can start to undermine the strength of a relationship and the perception of your brand.
Soli Deo Gloria
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1
J. Keith Hughey
Web site: www.jkeithhughey.com
Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2023 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.