Recently we celebrated the centennial "Pi Day", a once in a lifetime occurrence where the day's date written numerically matches pi, one of the world's most famous mathematical constants. This year, the date's accuracy stretched all the way to the ten thousandth decimal place: 3.1415. Wow! A big deal, right? I thought so, but most people I bring it up to think I'm talking about tasty desserts. Sigh.
Confusing "Pi Day" with "Pie Day" demonstrates both a communications problem and a branding problem. The communications solution is simple: tell more people about the infinite nature of pi and they may begin to more frequently associate it phonetically. Celebrate pi in a compelling and memorable way, record it, and it may catch fire as a social media meme. Will pi's magic overcome pie's taste? Time, cleverness, and repetition will tell.
The branding solution? That's a different story. "Pi Day" doesn't really have much of a brand just yet. It doesn't know what it stands for. Is it cool? High tech? Cosmic? Right now, it simply is what is it: a relatively unknown celebration of a curious juxtaposition of numbers suitable for a 30 second bit on the Big Bang Theory. The good news is that Pi can be celebrated on March 14th every year and build to 2115.
My son and I were happy to embrace the confusion and celebrate pi with pie. How about you?