In the 90’s Wisconsin was trying to keep up with the times and decided they needed a new State Slogan. I guess “Wisconsin; America’s Dairyland” was a little too old fashioned.
As with most things done by government committees, the final entries were a mishmash of insipid, innocuous and irritating phrases. I can’t remember any of them except for one upstart slogan that the committee couldn’t kill:
“Wisconsin, Eat Cheese or Die.”
Now, that was a slogan. In the end we spent thousands of dollars deciding that “America’s Dairyland” wasn’t the best slogan but it was good enough.
“Eat Cheese or Die” may not fit into everybody’s idea of a good slogan for a State, but it was and still is memorable. Another great slogan and company name rolled into one is the “Geek Squad”. You know what they do and you can’t forget their name. Tie the image of the Geeks in their black pants, white shirts and skinny black ties with their matching black and white, squad-car-like Volkswagen Beetles and you have an unforgettable image with the name/slogan. Did you remember they were part of Best Buy?
Robert Stephens, founder of the Geek Squad could have called his computer technicians Best Buy Computer Support, or Best Buy On-call Technical Staff but no one would remember those names. The Geek Squad differentiates the team from every other support group and easily comes to mind when you are having a computer crisis.
Stephens is quoted as saying; “Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.” He knew that creating a great name would be the prime advertising of his company and was focused on making his team remembered.
In our woodworking industry we often forget that we are marketing to consumers. We think if we open a shop the consumers will come. Well, in the economy of three years ago, that may have been true, but now we need to grab every prospect we can.
If we use the Geek Squad as an example, can we differentiate our companies from our local competition with our name?
Now I am not advocating changing your name to the very memorable but often maligned “Butte Crack Carpentry.” Instead I want you to try new ways to differentiate yourself in a positive light.
How important is this differentiation? You can do a simple test for yourself. Pick up the Yellow pages and go to any category, Dentists, Accountants, Rug Cleaners, it doesn’t matter. Pretend you are new in town. After looking at the ads, who will you call to have your teeth (or your rug) cleaned? Why did you pick them?
Now do the same test on your own company. Whether you look up Kitchen Cabinets in the Yellow Pages or Store Fixtures in Google how have you differentiated your company from the list of the many that appear? If you were new in town, would you call you?
We'll come back to this next time around.
Rick Hill is a consultant specializing in woodworking companies that need to find new markets and more sales. He is also an independent sales rep and founder of WoodReps.Com, a national association of independent reps in the woodworking industry. He can be reached through his website OnPointSales.com.
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