In Business, Story Trumps Slogan

1. The Mouthworm

Advertisers are particularly vulnerable to getting popular slogans stuck in their heads and riffing on them as opposed to creating a compelling story. That leads to DirecTV's "Fans don't let fans watch only 4 NFL games on cable" and Fox Reality Channel's "All reality, all the time."

2. The Big Picture

When Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott announced that the world's largest retailer would be a good steward of the environment, the message didn't get boiled down into a slogan. Rather, the sustainability initiative was framed within the company's larger story of saving its customers money so they can live better.

3. The Rallying Cry

In 2007, Citi adopted a new slogan, "Let's get it done," with the hope that the new line would motivate employees to assist in the bank's turnaround. The slogan alone -- reminiscent of Larry the Cable Guy's "git-r-done" -- fell flat. When Vikram Pandit took over as CEO a year ago, he reinstated the bank's tagline, "The Citi never sleeps," but tied it into a larger story of how Citi's functions turn customers' dreams into reality.

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2 Comments

  • Alkesh Shah

    Do you know whY? "Citi never sleeps."
    No, Why?
    Because It has "too many" problems. No wonder it can never sleep. CitiBank gave us this hint about their troubles a long time ago and they came out with their catchy slogan to re-introduce recently. - CITI NEVER SLEEPS - of course.
    At this time (January 2009), we do not have any control over the situation - so only thing we can do is "laugh" at Citi

  • Kare Anderson

    Agree+ disagree.

    A story distilled to a slogan enables people to be "in the know"
    when moved by the story and refer to it in "shorthand"
    when aptly referring to the underlying theme/goal of the story...
    making it more repeatable, familiar and closer to the core of their work and life.

    Tipping point stories and phrase = an example.

    Then a story + slogan moves "you" and "me" more swiftly
    to a "we" feeling and action.
    motivated by the story