By Jim Alkon, VP, Corporate Travel & Meetings Practice, etouches
Names, logos and taglines say more about an organization than the words and images themselves. Anyone remember the name Allegis? Those whose bandwidth extends to the late Eighties may recall that was the name given to the combined travel company comprised of United Airlines, Westin Hotels and Hertz. The concept didn’t work. The Allegis “brand” meant nothing. The rumored cost to come up with that name was about $7 million.
I once worked for a media company looking to rebrand itself. My division was in the U.S. The parent was in the U.K. I came to work one morning and there was an impressive, expensive-looking packet on everyone’s desk with a picture of our new logo and a detailed branding campaign. The logo was a fox. The U.S. team gagged. A fox is intelligent and resourceful, we were told. A fox is sly and cunning, we shot back, and not the image that would go over well in the States. The fox was not the brainchild of one executive’s idle scribbling. It was an orchestrated plan that took lots of time, resources and dollars to develop. But the process was blessed – the parent heard us, took back their fox and started over again.
That brings us to company taglines. In looking into the topic I see where marketing consultant Nancy Schwartz, in a survey of 3,000 non-profit organizations, found that 72 percent either didn’t have a tagline or didn’t feel theirs was effective. Sometimes taglines are cute. Sometimes they convey exactly what an organization is about. Sometimes they project an organization’s hope. Sometimes they say nothing.
I have been very impressed with this year’s tagline for the International Special Events Society’s New York Chapter: “We Take Care of Our Own.” It’s a great rallying cry if it lives up to its billing, and from what I can tell it does.
Most taglines not trying to be cute tend to be forgettable in a combination of predictable corporate buzzwords. The ISES phrase seems more personal. And I’ve see it in action. At a chapter town hall gathering last fall, the tagline was repeated over and over, and one member after another took the microphone and recounted how he or she had reached out to the organization and other members in a time of need – a project they were working on, a piece of business they needed to secure, a job they needed to land. It wasn’t hype – it was real. The members responded. They got results.
In a recent monthly chapter meeting, ISES was thanking the hosting venue, but it was more than lip service. It was in keeping with the tagline. ISES New York President Howard Givner said how important it was for members to consider the hosting venue for future events, talk to their team, and give them a chance even if it doesn’t look like the perfect fit at first glance. The message was clear: Go out of your way, try to find a reason for exploring this venue. Sometimes all people in this business want is a chance – too often, they are not given one.
Personally, I like belonging to a group whose tagline is “We Take Care of Our Own.” I’d like to help with that care, and also know it’s available if and when I need it. When the current chapter team moves on and hands the reins to others, perhaps their parting tagline will be something like, “We Left It Better Than We Found It.” Because they did.
Jim Alkon is Vice President, Corporate Travel & Meetings Practice, for etouches, which offers a web-based suite of integrated applications that help professionals manage, implement and market every key function along the event planning lifecycle. The software was built by event planners for event planners, has round-the-clock support, and is available in 24 languages. etouches recently won the award as Top Event Technology Innovator by Trade Show News Network. Visit www.etouches.com.Comments Off on Of Names, Logos and Taglines