What can we learn from "Arrival" (2016)?

Important: this post contains spoilers about “Arrival” (2016).

Arrival movie

Arrival synopsis

“Arrival” is a sci-fi film released in 2016 based on “Story of Your Life” story by Ted Chiang. In “Arrival” aliens land on Earth and start teaching us their language. Louise Banks, played by Amy Adams, is a linguist who is in charge of learning how to communicate with aliens that landed in Montana. During the process of learning word “tool” is misunderstood as “weapon” which almost causes a war with aliens. Louise finally succeeds in communicating in alien language which gives her the power to manipulate time. Point of the movie is that alien language is the knowledge of time manipulation.

What can we learn from it?

Popular culture mostly presents technology as hardware, and in some cases software. “Arrival” presents technology as a language. It simply assumes: if we learn new words, we will gain new abilities. An important part of Brand Equity Management (BEM) is the new terminology. If terminology is not adopted then understanding of BEM is limited. If terminology is adopted then BEM is adopted. “Arrival” is a wonderful example that language and terminology have a very high importance. The film also demonstrates that when words are misunderstood conflict is imminent.

How does BEM terminology work?

BEM terminology uses single word terms which are commonly known. We wanted terms to be familiar and easy to remember. More importantly, single word terms can be combined in phrases and sentences easier than multiple word terms. So simpler BEM terms allow more complex ideas to be expressed.

Basic BEM terms are Value, Brand, Uniqueness, Consistency, Hierarchy, Culture, Customer, Competitor, Category, Interaction, Product, Content, and Media. Although these terms are either known colloquially or used in other domains, BEM definitions give them a different and more precise meaning, making them more useful in brand strategy.

The primary goal of BEM terminology is that it is accepted by the entire organization so everybody can participate in the conversation and brand strategy, and finally understand their connection to the values accepted by customers. Just like in “Arrival”, if everybody learns a new language, everybody will acquire new abilities :). Disclaimer: BEM terminology is simpler than the alien language in “Arrival”.

Problems BEM termonology can solve

– Better alignment of talent with business strategy;
– Better cooperation between different teams;
– Higher efficiency in design, development, marketing, and sales;
– Better retention of talent;
– Faster integration of talent.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 18 Dec 2016