Martin Luther KingThis video linked here shows examples of the different Logical Levels of communication, using clips from film and TV.

At the end of this post, below, I descibe a daily conversation where these levels are used – implicitly, though not explicitly. That is the way we normally use them. Here is the Logical Levels Diagram:

The Logical Levels Diagram

And here is the example from daily life:

The Logical Levels of Communication

This demonstration is phrased in the form of a simple dialogue about directions when making a journey.

The situation is a common one. there are two people who don’t know each other well, let’s call them A and B.

In this scene A asks B,

A: What’s the best way to Devon from London?

B: well you go towards the m4 and then follow it to until you meet the M5 and then you follow that towards Exeter.

Or you could take the M3 and then cut across country using the A30.

These are examples of communication at the level of Menu of Possibilities.  Imagine that during his answer B notices that A is getting impatient and not listening. He says

B: Is there something the matter. You seem uncomfortable!

A Yes, I forgot to tell you, I don’t believe in motorways and will not use them if country roads are possible. Is there a cross country way avoiding motorways.

So the information using the M3 and 4 was useless to A because he has a Stand – to avoid motorways whenever possible.

Then the conversation took this turn;

B: Why don’t you use motorways.

A: Because I believe that they encourage heavy traffic and this pollutes the countryside. I want to leave the countryside for our children – as much like it is as we can, and the road building programme together with the houses that inevitably follow the roads do more damage to the countryside than anything else.

So, above his Stand to avoid motorways there is a Vision – that of preserving the countryside for our children.

Now the next thing that happens is:-

B: How will we all get about without motorways?

A: I think we should use the railways and put our energy into redeveloping and building them. They are a fantastic, safe and relatively quiet & pollution-free form of travel.

Now A has made a Proposition – to improve the railways and increase their use – derived from his Vision and his Stand. His Menu of Possibilities might include new tracks, stations, trains, a whole new infrastructure and renationalising the railways.

B: That’s a great idea. I think a lot of people can see the sense in that. But how are you going to make it happen?

A: B The first thing to do is……..

We have now reached the level of Delivery; how will we make it happen, what needs to occur, when and where.

What we have discovered in this example is that every conversation contains within it an Implicate Order; a hidden (unless it’s made explicit) structure which controls what is said and what is heard.

Usually this order operates in the background and we don’t discover it. Our work allows us to inquire into this order and to create it knowingly because we have discovered that all great brands (and People) have it and may benefit from studying and revealing it.


Because it makes you more truly able to know a brand, what you are buying, what it stands for, what it means to you, what it says about you. It allows you to live inside a bigger thing than just what you’ve bought.

It creates a bigger, more satisfying conversation just like the one above; it is more interesting to know about where A is coming from than his route plan – though both are important.

Many products are Menu driven. They communicate only at the level of Menu. Currently technology and domestic hardware are very like this. Look at the ads for Curry’s or for PC’s. They are all about features and price. Most buyers wouldn’t know the difference between 200MHz or 333MHz but there is an implicate order even here. Most of us have picked up the idea that ‘speed’ is what counts in computers – having the fastest is the best and says that we’re the coolest, most skilful, resident of PC’sville.

It is in some ways a matter of luck that processor speed became the defining virtue in this market. It could have as easily been RAM, or monitor size and definition and for some people these would be more important.

There are a couple of brands that stand out in the technology market which have something more than menu. These are Sony and Apple. Let’s take Apple. What is the Implicate Order behind the current consumer proposition; Think Different?