There’s (Brand) Power in the Pencil
“They still make these?” asked the Walmart cashier as he held up a box of bright yellow, freshly sharpened pencils. I laughed, “Yes, they do!”
Today, when I look around classrooms, I see more and more people leaving the beautiful pencil behind for an inky pen or a clicking keyboard. You could say it’s because our world is just becoming more and more advanced or refined or technologically-savvy.
The pencil’s been around since 1564. The fact that the pencil is still used today certainly speaks to its power.
I love a good pencil. And here’s why.
The look. The feel. The sound.
With a pencil between my fingers, I feel much more equipped to write than if I had a pen in hand. Why you may ask? Because the pencil allows the writer to be in control, giving him the chance to erase what is unwanted. A pen leaves messy, scratched-out marks, showcasing imperfection rather than the clean smudge left by a pencil’s eraser. A pencil gives the writer the liberty to erase their words and recognize what needs to be changed.
It’s about as real as it comes.
Real and authentic – the words I use to describe a pencil. There is nothing artificial to the pencil even the sound of it writing. As the tip of lead smoothly glides across the paper, it sounds like a true writing process is underway, like a masterpiece is being produced. On the other hand, a pen sounds fake, sometimes squeaky as the ink leaves the cylinder.
Pencils are all I use to take class notes, jot down ideas at work, or simply run wild with creativity. A crisp pack of pencils makes me happy.
Now, an unsharpened pencil is like an unsharpened sword; where’s the point?
It’s a solid conversation starter.
I pull out my pink pencil sharpener and begin to carve away at my pencils. *giggle* I quickly look up despite my intense concentration and see my classmate sitting next to me with wide eyes full of curiosity. “Are you sharpening your pencil?” she asks. “Yep!” “You’re so funny,” she answers through laughter. I don’t know how many times I’ve been in this scenario, but it makes me smile every time. People just don’t understand why pencils are so important to me. Why have I not switched over to a pen or a laptop if almost everyone in my class is using them?
Well, there’s just something about the pencil that draws me in every time- it’s okay, you can laugh. I like the consistent body of a pencil. It slides perfectly into your hand without any side clips that come along on a pen. Pencils even smell good. Who knew the combination of graphite and wood could smell so wonderful? For me, the smell of a pencil embodies the smell of creativity because the pencil serves as the ideal tool for the creative mind.
In theory, the brand of the pencil is what all companies, businesses, brands should be committing to when it comes to branding and marketing. The pencil is about as consistent as they make ‘em – standing bold, proud, confident; doing its own “thing.” Even when various pencil companies change the pencil’s look to fit their respective branding, the pencil itself doesn’t change. This is so ingrained in our culture that even today’s tech world gets it – the pencil emoji on smart devices is still the yellow instrument with the pink eraser we all know and love.
Artist Andrew Wyeth said it well – “I love the quality of pencil. It helps me to get to the core of a thing.” When I hold a pencil, I am holding the same instrument hundreds of people held before me. People who wrote and created things that would drastically change our world forever. I’m part of a brand that’s hundreds of years in the making. That’s pretty cool to me.
So, go buy yourself a pack of pencils and start writing with them. You may just never want to go back, instead you’ll move forward – and your brand will move forward, too.
Where can your brand be more like the pencil?