Consider some of the people you do business with: your real estate sales agent, your insurance agent, your jeweler, your doctor, your stockbroker, and others. Are you still shopping to find one of these people? If you find a better price or a better product, do you investigate further or report your findings to your current supplier? If you report your findings to your current supplier, you are asking for assurance. If you are asking for assurance, you are testing the confidence you have in your current supplier. None of us knows enough about everything to be our own expert: We depend on other professionals. Customers do repeat business with their current supplier because they are continually assured that they will get what they expect. It's not the best price or the absolute best product. There is always a lower price or a more spectacular product. Assurance that the customer will feel good about their purchase and will always have their expectations met is a critical principle of creating loyal customers.
Many companies use slogans in their advertisements. These slogans are clever one- or two-line statements about the company's product or service. Companies spend substantial sums of money in advertising and promoting their slogans in hopes that it will capture the attention of their customers. The development and use of slogans is very subjective; however, slogans that capture a company's value proposition and give assurance are the most effective.
In 1976, Alka Seltzer introduced the slogan "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is." Alka Seltzer's value proposition is clear: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz" is descriptive and "Oh what a relief it is" gives assurance that you will find relief with the product.
In late 2002, United Parcel Service (UPS) introduced its slogan "We've got brown." This slogan offers neither a value proposition nor assurance. Contrast UPS's slogan to their competitor Federal Express's "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight." Federal Express demonstrates a clear value proposition and uses adjectives to assure the customer so there is no doubt Federal Express will deliver.
Some slogans are immediately recognizable and attributable to a company, but still don't offer value or assurance. In 1988, Nike introduced "Just do it." Nike has spent enormous sums of money on making sure everyone in the world will think of Nike when they hear, "Just do it." Everyone does think of Nike when they hear the slogan, but the slogan offers no value or assurance. The same problem is true of Toshiba's slogan "Hello Tosh, gotta Toshiba?" which was introduced in 1984.
Try to match the following list of slogans with the companies they represent. There is a list of these companies listed with their slogans and the year the slogan was introduced at the end of this chapter.
"Mm mm good."
"Look Ma no cavities."
"Let your fingers do the walking."
"Be all that you can be."
"Fly the friendly skies."
"All the news that's fit to print."
"It takes a licking and keeps on ticking."
"It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken."
"Good to the last drop."
"When it rains it pours."
"The ultimate driving machine."
"The antidote for civilization."
"Finger lickin good."
"Say it with flowers."
"Nothing runs like a deere."
Kentucky Fried Chicken
The New York Times
The purpose of this exercise is to give you examples to help you distill your own value proposition and assurance into one or two sentences. When you consolidate your value and assurance into a concise statement, your customer can do the same. When someone tells a friend about Federal Express by saying, "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight," they have communicated value and assurance. A slogan helps your customers understand the value and assurance of your product or service and gives them the words to share with others. Equally important, your statement of value and assurance becomes a mantra for you and the people you work with.
This exercise of describing value and assurance will work just as well for you if you are a corporate employee, business professional, or a lone practitioner. Your customers, whether they are internal or external, want to receive value and assurance. If you want to create loyalty, it is your responsibility to deliver value and assurance. You are the business to your customers.
You may be buried deep in the IT department, but you will create a bond of loyalty if you consistently deliver value and assurance to your internal customers. When you are known for accuracy or timeliness and you back this value up with a consistent history, your internal customers become loyal to you.
You may be only one salesperson for a large furniture store or design studio, but your ability to provide value and assurance will create loyalty in your customers. Your store's or studio's value proposition might be a superior selection. Your value proposition might be knowledge of your customer's specific tastes.