[This entry appeared as a column in the Business Review newspapers. It's a takeoff on a newspaper memo I found when Ron was cleaning out his files at home. I am indebted to EO-Chicago, an entrepreneur's organization, for the new material. This crowd used to be WEO and YEO (don't ask) and now calls itself just plain EO. It's a branding move that they explore vividly on their web site yeochicago.org. The branding FAQ is especially good for laughs. And yes, one of their core values used to be "sexy-hot."]
To: All Employees, Mr. Grinch Inc.
From: Cindy Lou Who, President
As company president and chair of the Grinch Branding Task Force (Special Operations Unit), I am proud to announce an exciting new initiative to replace last year’s “Let’s All Be Green and Weird” campaign.
Remember, we cannot hope to convince customers of Mr. Grinch’s change of heart (yes, it really did grow three sizes that day!) if our own people continue to shriek in horror whenever he visits our corporate offices. Thus, we have created a new way to present our brand message in a sparkling, spellbinding fashion (see figure 34XY9 and spreadsheet RM450).
We will begin with 27 meetings with 4.5 employees each during the course of a week. At these meetings I will provide a brief slide presentation (see “spellbinding,” above and offer each employee a happy Grinch mask and fuzzy green vest.
The new brand message, or “vision” if you will, is particularly powerful because it has both an internal and an external purpose. Internally, it deepens our influence and impact on each other. Externally, this vision will empower us to expand our influence on the world. We can now channel our collective focus, energy and resources on building one powerful external brand. Next step: world domination!
Vital to developing any branding initiative is an intuitive grasp of Mr. Grinch’s core values. Such values inspire the instant sense of kinship and trust you feel when you meet another member of this organization. (Needless to say, hiding in broom closets should no longer be necessary.)
OUR 2006 CORE VALUES
The more insightful among you will see the pivotal changes made to the 2005 Core Values. We shortened “Sexy-Cool” to “Cool” and changed “Free Sleigh Rides!” to “Boldly Go!”
All these changes were made after copious feedback requiring thousands of man hours. However, lively dialogue with employees on branding issues remains our most precious resource. We now offer a quick example of appropriate and inappropriate dialogue:
How can we be sure that the branding initiative will not diffuse or confuse who we are as an organization?
We all love and value this organization. Our goal is not to change who we are, but rather, to more accurately express who we are today and provide a platform to increase our reach, influence and value to members moving forward.
TE: I worry that this initiative will threaten our core promise and the brand recognition/value that we have already established. Seriously, it keeps me up at night.
EM: This evolution in no way changes our core member promise to not keep Christmas from coming. This brand simply opens up a new dimension in which Whoville and the Grinch can pursue other avenues to revenue enhancement.
TE: Thank heavens for this meeting. I feel more serene and confident regarding my part in the company’s future.
Why do you keep making us come to stupid meetings when we have work to do?
You think you’re suffering? I have to brainstorm kicky initiatives while the special ops group rappels down walls with bumper stickers in their teeth.
AE: When are we gonna talk about my raise? I gotta houseful of Whos to feed.
TM: Sit down and shut up.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions. Remember, if you display any curiosity about any aspect of the branding initiative and don’t immediately ask a question, a member of the special ops unit will land on your head.