Mottos and Slogans : Expect More - Pay Less is No longer True
Companies create slogans that were once true but often maintain them when they have long since stopped being true. You should be alert to these changes in your organization. If the mission statement changes, the motto or slogan should follow aswell or you will confuse and upset your customer base.
Target's motto has been - Expect More Pay Less - for some time. It was once true and quite effective. Of late, they have increased their price points to discount department store levels, as well as eliminating some of their lower price points of old.
In our software category, for example, they have the highest starting price point of any mass merchant. Wal-Mart boldly proclaims, Always low prices, always. No longer. Wal-Mart has moved up in price. Now the dollar chains have assumed the low price position in retailing.
What is the problem with a wrong slogan? It makes people mad and alienates them. People are increasingly talking about the higher prices at Wal-Mart and Target but not so much about their higher price point merchandise. Why? Partially it is because Wal-Martand Target continue to underscore low pricing when that is no longer their strategy or their execution in the stores.
The rapid growth of the dollar stores shows that the consumer has moved over to this class of trade in hordes. More and more people are first shopping at the dollar stores before turning to Wal-Mart and Target. This is a huge change from the past.
The Target and Wal-Mart mottos and slogans only make the situation worse for them by proclaiming a pricing and value position they no longer hold. Better to pick new slogansthat match up with their new higher priced / higher value propositions or drop them altogether. Better no slogan than the wrong one.
Consider the Ford slogan, Quality is Job 1. With all their recalls, this simply doesn't wash. It is just plain irritating to the customer and potential customer.
If you have a motto or slogan, be sure it is still true TODAY. Wal-Mart has decided to move up and compete for the higher end customer. They should change their slogan from Always low prices, always to something more fashion and price forward thatmakes sense to the consumer--today. Similarly, Target, has moved up in prices in so many categories that they must take more of a fashion forward statement approach. This can work because Target has successfully shifted to cooler clothing and accessories. People know this. The slogan should follow suit.
If you are competing with people with an out of date slogan, as the dollar stores are with Wal-Mart and Target, challenge their slogan with something like, Shop us first for the best price.
Finally, say what you mean. Again, it is always better to have no slogan than the wrong one. What can be more frustrating for a Walmart customer who bought something at a higher price than they later saw at Dollar Tree or Kroger, to see the Wal-Mart slogan,Always low prices, always just to rub it in.
Watch out you don't fall into the same trap. If your prices are going up because you can, your slogan must reflect that. Your correspondence must shift from emphasizing price to value.
The smart thing to do with your motto is be sure you keep it squarely in front of you, the way Southwest Airlines pride themselves on doing. They are vigilant about being the best low cost airline. The work every day to maintain their strengths. They test new concepts all the time, just to be sure they aren't wrong about no food, no seat assignments, and not letting others sell their tickets.
Don't fall into the trap of believing your company is what it was. As Robert Townsend said in Up the Organization, If they did then, what they do now, they wouldn't have gotten to now.
McDonalds returned to its old ways with a new $1 menu and had renewed success. Heinz returned focus to its Ketchup bottle by making its cap serve double duty as a stand, to keep the ketchup close to the cap, and so it would be really easy to pour.People actually talk about this return to their old slogan, Easy to Pour, and you see these Ketchup bottles standing on their caps all over restaurants in America.
In sum, if you have a motto, stick to it. Think about it every day. The consumer does not like change with familiar brands. People want Wal-Mart to be Wal-Mart. They want Target to be Target. They want Heinz Ketchup to be easy to pour, McDonalds andSouthwest to be cheap.
Mottos and Slogans
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