How to Create a Meaningful Company Slogan that Sets Your Brand Apart

            Every day, I see and hear taglines and slogans for companies and organizations that are meaningless to their stakeholders. Perhaps you do, too. A few examples:  The Curious Bank; Quality is in the Details; Nothing sucks like an Electrolux; It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken; Always in Beta; Every bite is a different temperature; Be Stupid; Better than it has to be since 1923.

            Ouch.

            Creating a memorable, meaningful, relevant, motivational company or brand tagline or slogan must be a disciplined process that starts with a team brainstorm. The brainstorm team must be composed of no more than 10 senior and junior people from several disciplines in the organization.

I prefer a group that includes the CEO on down through HR to IT, PR, marketing, sales, operations, maintenance, accounting, security, shipping, receiving, fulfillment and so on. The more gender, ethic and age diversity, the better.

The entire brainstorm should last no more than one hour, and it should be audio recorded. Questions for the group can vary somewhat, but if you will CONTACT ME, I’ll share with you the top 12 questions we ask when Clearview leads messaging brainstorm sessions.

Normally, the audio recording will be about 5,000-6,000 words, and it is a gold mine you should cherish. When analyzed and distilled down to a written executive summary of about 1,000 words, you have a treasure trove you will use to create taglines, slogans, key messages, searchable keywords, talking points, soundbites for spokespersons, social media posts, speaker notes, web copy, sales copy, audio and video scripts, recruiting efforts, elevator pitches and more – all the uniform messaging you need that characterizes your culture, mission, vision and beliefs.

A Wonderful Example

In preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2019, the leading Florida CPA/financial advisory firm Saltmarsh Cleaveland & Gund eagerly participated in a rather animated messaging brainstorm we led in November. The general consensus of the brainstorm group was that the firm wanted to celebrate 75 years of success, a look backward, but also wanted to articulate its intention to be a player for decades to come, a look forward.

We distilled the 5,000-word audio recording transcript to this slogan, widely used and displayed everywhere during the 75th anniversary celebration this year:

A foundation for the future built on generations of trust.

All of those words individually and collectively were counted numerous times in the brainstorm written summary. The task was to put them together in a meaningful way, which I believe we all did.

The 1,000-word executive summary with various key messages, key words, soundbites and other messaging was also vital in helping Saltmarsh’s smart marketing team and graphic designers  develop the 75th anniversary logo and content on the Saltmarsh 75th Anniversary Landing Page.

A branding success story and a role model for all organizations seeking to define and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

How to Strengthen Your Leadership Powers Through Self-knowledge

Is it a case of “everything old is new again,” or “great advice is timeless”?

My new year’s resolution to study more of the writings of distinguished business developers resulted in a pre-dawn mental shock this morning when I was struck by the uncanny similarities between the messaging of Dr. William Anton in his seminal work, Business Success Through Self Knowledge, and that of sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer in his Little Red Book of Selling.

Yes, the two sages could not be more dissimilar in their methods of instruction, their philosophies of guidance and the actual words they use. Here’s what hit me so hard –

Gitomer, page 45 in The Little Red Book: “Be selfish. Do it for yourself. Selfish wins. In order for you to be the best you can be for others, first you must be best for yourself…your shortcomings in all of your endeavors stem from the fact you’re not being the best person you can be first.”

Declared like a Marine drill instructor, right?

Anton, page 50 in the Preface of Business Success: “Leaders who have only limited access to their own potential can unknowingly disrupt the entire enterprise, but leaders who are committed to broadening access to their own potential through increasing their self-knowledge are in an optimal position to improve the quality and level of performance in their organization.”

Offered like a scholarly professor, an erudite philosopher, right?

What the drill instructor and the erudite philosopher have in common is their very compatible conclusions that leaders must practice constant introspection to understand the why of every action the take or inaction they don’t.

That’s because, as I understand them (with apologies, Bill and Jeffrey), our leadership decisions are persuaded by mental models developed over our lifespan that are applied by our subconscious during the decision-making processes. If we don’t understand ourselves – the why of our actions, the mental models affecting our behavior – we cannot fully assess the constructive or destructive results of those decisions; and not only in the workplace, but in all human relationships.

His Dad Was Like a Salesman

I am reminded of the time I was called in to provide persuasive messaging for the head of one of the largest agencies of the federal government who was preparing to go before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to argue for his agency’s budget increase for the coming fiscal year. Simply, I learned very quickly, he didn’t want to do it. During our sessions, he refused to cooperate in our role-playing, avoided embracing the principles of assertive persuasion, provided timid responses to the challenging questions we anticipated from the committee members, and in general just wanted to escape the session and leave the room.

 I thought to myself, “Here is the head of a huge federal agency that needs 100s of millions of dollars to continue to meet its obligations to the American people, and he’s dodging the responsibility to aggressively go after those dollars.”

 I looked him in the eye and asked, “What’s wrong?”

 Silently, I waited a full half minute for the reply, which came in a whisper: “My father was a salesman and I hated it. I’m not that.”

The response had arisen from deep within the shadows of his past, squeezed from his subconscious. We both paused in silence to allow this discovery to manifest itself fully. “I’m ready,” he said. “Let’s proceed.”

A month later, a note popped up from him in my e-mail inbox with the subject line CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET HEARING. Reluctantly, fearfully, I clicked it open.

“Andy,” he wrote, “I went right after the Secretary of State’s people and I did great. We got it. Thank you.”

How to Get to Yes with 6 Laws of Persuasive Communication

I’m having genuine interest from people in my presentation to groups on the topic, “Persuasive messaging for leaders – how to get to ‘yes’!” A major reason for the popularity of the subject is that so many people find it difficult to persuade other people to their point of view in what I believe is the most fractious public and personal communications environment I  have witnessed in my lifetime (the Vietnam era included).

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How to Write a Media Pitch Journalists Won’t Hate

I’m a recovering journalist … a veteran of almost 20 years as a daily newspaper reporter and editor. Now, I interact with reporters and editors almost daily, and the art of the media pitch has changed considerably in the past 10 years. So, I asked our leading writer, Libby Baldwin, to give us a bit of an update on story pitching tips and techniques. All PR people, listen up! – Andrew Bowen, APR, CEO of Clearview Communications + PR

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