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VAKOG – Ugly Acronym, Great Advice

PizzaMargheritaIf you’re like me you have spent countless hours racking your brain trying to come up with ways to describe and, dare I say sell, products and services that don’t have a lot of innate curb appeal. Whether it is a seminar in credit repair counseling, a catback exhaust system or a the latest in hair extension styles (and, yes, I have written thousands of words about each) the one thing that has helped me to overcome both ennui and writer’s block is the ugly little acronym VAKOG.

As abbreviations go it is hard to think off one that is less graceful than VAKOG but that is probably part of its strength: you won’t soon forget it. Nor should you because if you remember to include as many of the elements of VAKOG in your writing it will revolutionize the way you think about it and will delver results you never thought were possible. So, what does it stand for and what does it mean?

Creating Lasting Impressions

In essence, all of experience is made up of your five senses and whenever you recall any experience you are recalling the interplay of these perceptions (internal representations or IRs for short). Now I could run around in circles trying to explain why using as many sensory elements as possible in your writing is more effective than employing bland but descriptive adjectives but let’s let an example do the heavy-lifting. You tell me which is more appealing.

A deep dish pizza.

A deep dish pizza that combines a perfectly crisp crust with deliciously gooey mozzarella, juicy vine-ripened Roma tomatoes just bursting with flavor and fresh, aromatic basil grown right here in our garden. Every pizza is a work of art, just like mamma used to make.

Even if I could have done a better job at it I think the case has been made that the more senses you appeal to, the bettter the results (obviously you won’t be able to include them all in every piece). So, what does the acronym stand for?

1. Visual (Sight). How does it look?

2. Auditory (Sound). What does it sound like?

3. Kinesthetic  (Feeling/emotion) How does it make you feel?

4. Olfactory (Smell) What does it smell like?

5. Gustatory (Taste) What is its flavor?

There is so much more to be written on this topic and I really don’t feel that I have done it justice but it will have to do for now. Nonetheless, check out the book Cashvertising (crass name, yes, but crazy good) for more on VAKOG and other great tips to improve your writing. Until then, au revoir and thanks for reading!



About Michael Rickicki

I am a freelance writer, translator, social media manager and co-owner of a mid-sized automotive accessories manufacturer and retailer in Brooklyn.

2 comments on “VAKOG – Ugly Acronym, Great Advice

  1. agrrosewood
    June 19, 2014

    That’s great advice! I’m probably not going to remember that acronym, but using all five senses really helps the reader experience what you are trying to convey. Great for storytelling, great for advertisements.

    • Michael Rickicki
      June 19, 2014

      Thanks for reading! I was surprised I’d never hear of it before myself. Take care!

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