One of the things that drives me nuts about marketing – and sadly, planning – is the way words are thrown out without ever giving any thought to what they mean.
They’re all words that have been diluted and destroyed by adlands constant dilution of what they mean and who supposedly represents them.
I remember once sitting in a major food companies boardroom and asking them what their biggest innovation of the last few years had been and they said their product – which was once only able to be cooked in the oven – was now able to be cooked in the microwave.
I get that to them, that’s innovative, but to the outside world, that’s bloody embarrassing.
But that’s not what this post is about, this post is about the killing of the word ‘commitment’.
I see it in annual reports. I see it in case studies. I see it in planning decks. I see it in advertising.
And 99% of the time, it’s all complete and total bollocks.
It seems the modern interpretation of ‘commitment’ is anything that results in you spending more than 30 seconds talking about it.
I know we live in fast paced, fast moving lives.
I know we are bombarded with choices and requests.
I know we all have the focus on a gnat.
But commitment is about the long game … and by that, it should be measured in years, not minutes.
Commitment is demonstrated by sacrifice.
Where easier, more populist or more profitable choices are pushed aside in favour of staying true to your belief or cause.
And what does staying true mean?
Well, as the title of this post states, it’s about action not words, but if you want me to be more specific, I’d say it’s demonstrated by investment, action, focus, progress, innovation and measurement.
Of course, any commitment a company or brand has towards a belief or cause should be closely related to their core business and how they operate within their core business – not just because that’s how they make money – but because if it’s not, you have to question how much they really believe in the belief or cause they are claiming they’re committed to.
That’s why I believe NIKE but less so Uniqlo. [Though I do believe Uniqlo for other things]
That’s why I believe GoPro but less so Garmin.
That’s why I believe Virgin but less so Qantas.
But there’s a much simpler way to work out whether a company is truly committed to what they claim to stand for … or even understands what being committed to something really means.
If they ‘relaunch’ what their brand stands for every 12 months, they don’t.
So planners, marketers, brands and companies. By all means use the word, but make sure you do the act.
Over and over and over again.
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