Personal Slogan

May 21, 2008

The personal slogan is a technique I used as I wormed my way into the hearts and minds of the good people of Ideal, LLC. I asked myself what it was that I wanted to do there, and I challenged myself to come up with an elevator pitch for it.

I want to transform their way of doing business to be more efficient, to be more reliable, to be more robust. I want it to be scalable. The result of all these changes will be that Ideal is poised to make more money than it makes now. The reason that’s true is that the changes will make it easier to make money. Sales will be easier because our products are stable and documented. Support will be easier because the calls will be less urgent and less frequent. Development will be easier because there will be a roadmap and a timeline that the developers can rely on to reduce the pressure on them.

I am there to make everyone’s life easier.

Easy Button

This is the slogan I use, and it works for everyone I meet at Ideal. I was hired to be an agent of change at Ideal, and people hate change. To cushion the transition, I ask people in various parts of the company what their pain points are, and I ask them what would make them less painful. I say:

“I understand. I’d be frustrated about that if I were you, I’m glad you’re the one doing that for us, you do good work. Wouldn’t it be great if [solution here]? I’m going to talk to some people and see if we can get that done for you. I am here to make your life easier.

I always get a positive reaction when I approach issues that way and use the slogan. They subconsciously associate me with making things easier for them because first I say it, then I actually make things easier. The benefit of this, much like a positive first impression, is that I get the benefit of any doubt that may come up. I have made their lives easier in a tangible way, so when I ask them to go out of their way to make my life easier, it’s not an imposition: it’s their pleasure.

Choosing the Slogan

The most important thing to me in any marketing activity is integrity. Whatever impression you leave on your audience must be a true reflection of reality. Jennifer Rice outlines a strategy you can use to develop what she calls the elevator pitch:

  • Keep it short. Distill your mission into a phrase or sentence that rolls off the tongue naturally and quickly.
  • Use your audience’s language. I could have explained to developers that I wanted to document our products, but documentation is a side effect to them. Documentation is a tool, a given developer won’t care about it per se. The end result is their life is easier with documentation, and that’s what I chose to focus on.
  • Make sure your pitch is something your audience really wants and cares about. Make sure it’s something that no one else is offering as such, so that you become a breath of fresh air to them. Be sure you can actually follow through on the promises you make to people. Last, make sure your activities are really valuable, and you’re not acting as a destructive or divisive force. In short, be sure your proposition is sustainable. These can be summarized as the 4Ds of positioning, Desirable, Distinctive, Deliverable, and Durable.
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