78. It's Not About You - or - How To Create A Great Slogan That Sells
It might be time to reverse your thinking about your business
Last week I blathered on about how the greatest brand slogans are able to define both the user experience and the company vision in 5 words or less. (Actually, the key is really 7 words or less, which you can read about here, but that’s another kettle of chips. Mmmmm…..kettle chips.)
What I’d like to talk about now, if you’d be so kind as to let me continue, is how the world doesn’t revolve around you.
It’s Not About You
My friends in the endurance sports industry have heard me say this thousands of times: people don’t participate in an event for the course, or for the swag or the volunteers or any of that other malarkey.
The only reason people participate in an endurance sports event is for the feeling they hope they will get in the process. That’s it.
It’s not about you. It’s about them.
Your job as an event organizer (if that is, in fact, your job) is to help define the feeling and then, simply, to facilitate that feeling for the participants.
Yet, time and again, when I ask event owners why people do their event, I always hear answers like:
“We’re the best at customer support”, or,
“We have an awesome finish line”, or,
“Our course is beautiful”
The thing about these answers is that none of them have anything to do with the participant’s emotional experience.
As I always tell sales people, your company doesn’t matter. People aren’t repeatedly buying from you because of your company, they’re buying because either 1) you solve a problem for them and/or 2) they have an experience with your brand that they want to replicate.
On that note, here are things I’d rather hear from event organizers as to why people do their event:
”People feel special and unique when they participate”
”Participants experience awe in a way that no other company can replicate”
“People are blown away by how much they are celebrated at the finish line.”
But the sports industry is just one small example; people also participate in other passion-centric industries because of their emotional experience with it. People purchase music because of how it makes them feel. Same with food. And movies. And alcohol.
But, you ask, what of the industries that aren’t typically driven by passion? You must be reading my mind because I was seriously about to bring that up. Seriously, I was.
Bring On The Goods
Let’s talk consumer goods for a few minutes. In fact, how about the vegetable peeler.
There are few things more mundane than a vegetable peeler. It’s purchased for a very utilitarian purpose, to peel vegetables. My guess is that the average household uses their vegetable peeler twice per month. I don’t have any scientific data around that and, from what I can tell by my research, nobody cares enough to try and put any data together about vegetable peeler trends.
The truth is that very few people have a strong passion for vegetable peelers. I’m guessing you agree with me on this one, right?
But here’s the thing, though people may not have a passion for a product category like the vegetable peeler, this is different than the feelings people have for a brand.
When my wife told me she was going to buy a new vegetable peeler, you know what I said? I said to my wife, I said, “wife, please buy an OXO.”
Why did I say that?
Because OXO is a company that lives up to their brand slogan: tools that delight and exceed expectations.
OXO products - including their vegetable peeler - make me feel great whenever I use them.
I know if a vegetable peeler has the OXO label it will not only work well, but it will look modern and make me feel like I’m a better cook. Yes, I buy a vegetable peeler from a specific brand because of the way it makes me feel.
Go back and look at those slogans again at the top of last week’s newsletter. Like the OXO slogan, they are all about emotion.
None of them mention the actual product being promoted. None of them mention customer support or pricing. None of them are even referring to what the product actually is.
Every great slogan is focused on harnessing the feeling one gets while engaging with the product.
If you come here, you will be happy.
If you eat this, you will feel like a champion
If you drive this, you will be amongst the elite
If you peel with this you will be delighted
So what’s your slogan? What feeling are you trying to elicit? Or is your slogan just plain wrong?
Even if you’re not a company leader, I’m guessing you have a personality. Perhaps you want to make people feel a certain way when they first meet you. What is that reaction? What would be your personal slogan?