Your attitude can define you. Your attitude can be the deciding factor in whether a friend goes out of their way to say hello to you, or whether a customer chooses to spend their money with you. Continue reading
“I may not understand what you do – but I’m proud to say I was smart enough to hire you to let you prove what you could do for me.” Continue reading
I suppose that like a lot of people, for a long time I didn’t really think too much of company slogans. For sure, I bought them up like crazy for brands I thought were cool, but that was about as far as my thought process went.
My first real exposure to slogans (or tag lines, if you prefer) came in the mid 2000s when I was working with a music and dvd retailer called play. We had three retail locations and were very well known to the devoted music or home entertainment audiences in the two cities we were in. However, if you had no idea who we were… well, you had no idea who we were. Our logo was a rectangle with rounded corners, the word play in lowercase letters and a green triangle to the right, like the play button on most electronics. Our slogan (which had been developed before my time) was “See it. Hear it. Play it.” It sounded cool, but for a brand trying to gain a bigger footing, it didn’t work. Why not? Well – does that tell you in the slightest what the company was about, or what we sold? On more than one occasion we had customers enter our store asking if we were an arcade, an appliance dealer (I still don’t know how that made sense), or part of an unrelated company from Eastern Canada. Eventually it was decided that we should create something new, beginning my interest in slogans.
The slogan I created was “The music store as independent as you are.” – and my goals for it were this:
- Clearly define what we sold. Music store. Check.
- Separate ourselves from big box stores, identifying our independent nature, which as a music retailer allowed for greater flexibility in bringing in unknown or underground artists, and not just the big superstars.
- In identifying ourselves as independent, we also associated ourselves with our customers. Who wouldn’t want to be thought of as cool and independent?
Okay, so, a little cheeky, a little precious, perhaps.. but it worked. Our customers liked the new slogan, and people seeing our store bags or other materials for the first time away from our stores were able to identify who we were. This slogan also had the great benefit of being an excellent radio tag – I closed all of our radio commercials with it. We knew it was working when we were signing up new customers to our customer loyalty program and they would comment “So you guys are really independent?”
Since that time, I’ve been honoured to have worked on many logos and slogans for both new businesses and those going through a rebrand. Sometimes the owners haven’t even considered a slogan, sometimes they don’t even know where to start… which ironically enough, was where I was when I started Ambition.
Too close to the forest? Perhaps. I was taking a number of business courses to help get my grounding, and we were discussing elevator pitches, slogans and branding. I ground my teeth. I had ideas for everyone else in the room – classmates and instructors – but for my business? Oh no.
Eventually I created “Connecting businesses to their
target markets and reconnecting people to their passion”. Say THAT three times fast. Yes, it said what we do – from marketing to creative coaching.. but.. let’s be honest: Ugh.
The instructors said that it was fine (in their defence they couldn’t really linger on me for too long – there was the rest of the class waiting), but I wasn’t happy at all.
I held off putting that slogan on anything. I knew what the rules were; I knew what a slogan SHOULD do.. and I broke the rules. Entrepreneurs, dreamers, business people.. they all have something in common: Passion. Drive. Ambition. How do you find out what moves someone? Ask them.
What’s Your Ambition?
I tossed that old clunky slogan so fast it didn’t even have time to hit the bottom of the digital trash can. Forgot about my elevator pitch. THIS is it… and it works because people love to talk about what excites them, and I love to hear about it. I frequently get stopped when wearing my company shirt with this logo across the back by complete strangers who want to tell me what their ambition is – or to ask me what the shirt is about. It’s awesome. Whether someone’s passion is making the fanciest doodadwhatzit gadget on the planet, or they’re in business because they love business (read: money) – we can help.
What’s in a slogan? Whatever, as a business owner, you want to put into it. It can be an integral part of your brand and marketing materials, or it can be ignored as an afterthought. It’s your brand, your dream. Now, tell me… What’s Your Ambition?
The Christmas Season is once again upon us and advertisers are in full swing for your attention and your dollar. To the left, Santa is pushing new cars, to the right a flock of elves are telling you which brand of clothing must absolutely positively be under the tree.
Christmas-themed ads are everywhere we go.. some strictly promoting their product or service, a few attempting to balance a holiday greeting while spreading brand awareness. This is all fine, so long as it’s genuine. Have a holiday-themed sale and promote the heck out of it – no problem. Spread your company’s well wishes to everyone and raise your brand awareness – also completely fine. However, whatever you do, invest in it completely and ask yourself – is this a message you’d feel okay with telling your grandma?
During American Thanksgiving, I saw a tweet that absolutely floored me: A generic “Happy Thanksgiving”, followed by a shortened link. That was it. No description of where the link went, no effort put in to use up the remaining 100 or so characters of their tweet. This company wouldn’t be so insincere, would they? My curiosity got the better of me.. I had to click on the link. Please, surprise me. Please send me to a custom holiday card or greeting to put a smile on my face and let me go about my way. Please, don’t be The Twit That Tweeted..
Sigh. Twits indeed. The link had sent me to a page listing some of their products. Someone had taken all of 8 seconds to add an extra line of red text under the price on a few items to show that they were on sale. Nothing more.
I closed the page, more than a little disappointed with the whole experience. This was like giving someone an unsigned Christmas card, still outside of the envelope. “Hey. I thought about trying.. but……. Here.”
Had they put even the slightest bit of effort into their message, things would have been a whole lot better. Imagine this: “Happy thanksgiving! For the next 48 hours we’re holding a special sale on widgets and gizmos. Click *here* to see. Enjoy your weekend!” Hey. Awesome. You’ve shared a greeting, told me of your sale and wished me on my way. I can handle that. Then, clicking on the link leads to a page where you’ve spent, oh, an hour creating a custom design for your themed sale, again making me feel more welcome and like you perhaps give half a damn about the experience your customers have with you. Nice. Instead you give me someone selling designer watches from their coat pocket. No thanks.
I suppose we’re lucky in that we’re not selling a product or special service over the holidays. We don’t have to stand on the corner, yelling louder than the next guy why our doodads are better. We’ve been working on Christmas materials for our clients since October (which made for some interesting office playlists), but we don’t have to take part in the whole seasonal rush. As such, please take it with all of our sincerity, from everyone at the Ambition Team and all of our extended families… Merry Christmas.. And don’t miss the SALE SALE SALE on thingamabobs over on aisle three! (Joking!)
Be excellent to each other.
Founder at Ambition
It’s only in the last few moments of the video that you realize it’s a commercial for Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle has gone on record stating that they serve only responsibly raised livestock, and this video is a wonderful way of getting their message out. Without naming names, they shame all of the large “factory” fast food companies with heartbreaking images of poor little digitally rendered cows and chickens, stuck in crates and boxes.
To further promote their brand in this understated but deliberate way, they’ve also released a free iOS game called “The Scarecrow”. We’ve downloaded it, but it still being office hours, we haven’t given it a shot just yet. It currently has 3.5 stars in the reviews.
What do you think? Does seeing this video, or playing the game, make you want to visit Chipotle any time soon? Will it make you try them over a fast food regular choice? Think of the sad cow!
How many car commercials have you seen in your life? How many do you truly remember? Wow, more horsepower than last year, hey, great new styling.. and this is being said by a car guy!
Cars, and commercials will come and go. This one by Volkswagen has always stayed with me:
How could you not get caught up by this? From the great music (The track is “One Million Miles Away” by J. Ralph), to the great scenario played out.. it’s beautiful. It tastefully shows off the Jetta VR6; displaying its passing abilities (the reason you’d go for the VR6), gives a few views of the interior, and lavishly sweeps over the exterior.
This is advertising done right. Not just for a car, but for anything. Tell a story. Engage us. Make us ask questions. Make us want to take part.
Do you have any favourite commercials that have stuck with you? Let us know in the comments below.