Do You Act Like Your Slogan?

I took my son to the Art Gallery of Ontario a few weeks back.  My son, being 3 years old and fairly full of beans, trotted around in circles in the waiting area while I sorted out tickets.  The staff made sure to remind me that my son shouldn’t touch anything.  Once inside, we were followed closely by nervous staff.  I didn’t blame them.  I would be nervous too if I saw an energetic boy skipping around my precious collection.  I’m pleased to report he didn’t touch a thing.

The next time I went to the gallery I was with a friend.  Surprisingly, we got the same treatment.  Any time we leaned in for a closer look we were reminded by the staff that we shouldn’t touch the art.  The message was repeated no less than 4 times during our visit.  We were both wearing the “Members Matter” slickers that were given to us at the members desk yet the staff seemed certain we didn’t know the basic rules of gallery behavior.

For marketers it’s important to remember that slogans like “members matter” or “customer focus” are meaningless if the product or customer experience fails to deliver as promised.  Sometimes that’s harder to do than you think.  It means you have to step outside the marketing department.  Product marketers in particular need to reach into other parts of the organization to make sure that the messages communicated are not simply what the customer would like to hear but actually reflect the reality of the product or customer experience.  Customers know when you’re lying.

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15 thoughts on “Do You Act Like Your Slogan?”

  1. My local B&N has colored my expectations of every B&N. The local one is so awful that I’ve emailed the company twice, and was given the district manager’s phone number. No other B&N is like this, and yet, it is this B&N that sets my expectations.

  2. Hi David,
    Thanks for the comment. You’re right that people will judge a brand based on their local outlet.
    I love the AGO, I just don’t believe them when they say “members matter”. The fact that we were members didn’t stop them from worrying that we might be a threat to the artwork.
    April

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  11. For many companies, abandoning a slogan altogether is too often a neglected idea.

    A) Studies show that people don’t remember slogans (outside of classics like ‘Just Do It’)

    B) A great brand doesn’t need to tell me who it is or what it stands for…I arrive at that conclusion within seconds of our first interaction…

    Brands are a lot like people…the ones who embody a particular trait never talk about it…it just oozes off them.

    1. Matt,
      Thanks for the comment. Anyone that’s worked with me knows I have a problem with slogans. I think it’s valuable to have a statement that answers the question “What do you do?” and I usually like to have companies focus on that instead of worrying about slogans. You’ve touched on a great point about branding in general customers have a lot more control over that than companies do.
      April

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