We’re the People That Put the….

Murray Pratt Business Insights, Humor, Life

Annoyed child pinching his nose for smell, sticking out tongue

annoyed child pinching his nose for smell, sticking out tongue

Driving down the road and listening to the radio on my commute this morning, I hear Kelly the DJ, who is also one of the Zamboni Drivers at our local arena. Anyone who drives a Zamboni, as I once did myself, and can spin great songs of the 60’s,70, and 80’s – which nails my demographic because that is when we could hear – well, he gets my listening loyalty.

Get Your Motor Runnin’

Head out on the Highway’

Looking for Adventure

…um ..er ..in your Zamboni.’

But this morning it was one of the commercial messages on the radio that got my attention.

It was from our local gas utility.

Here was their tagline.

“We’re the people who put the smell of rotten eggs in your natural gas – ON PURPOSE!”

It’s the last two words that really got me.

You see, I have been in those rooms. So has Brad our ‘groovy socks’ marketer. It’s those meetings where the stiff-shirted clients come in and meet with the marketing agency types. It’s the business guys, the owner, or the account manager of the agency, who is holding court.

And they spend a lot of time talking about business strategy, and market positioning – and then they hone in on something called your ‘Unique Value Proposition’, or UVP.

Your UVP is very important because it’s the one thing – hopefully – that you alone deliver. The one thing that gives you a unique advantage with a certain group of customers. And you know that the ‘business types’ from the ad agency took this requirement to the ‘creative group’ – you know, sort of the like the ‘morning DJ crew’ at the local radio station –  and said something to the effect of ‘what should be do with a UVP for a public utility?’

So, the ‘creatives’ said,

Everyone can provide energy.

And everyone promotes safety.

But no one has ever been ‘edgy’ with the safety message (except for maybe the WestJet airline flight attendants who tell you in their pre-flight safety announcement that ‘if anyone one is caught smoking in the bathroom you will be asked to leave’).

So, they come up with this edgy line

“We’re the people who put the smell of rotten eggs in your natural gas.”

And when they take it to the business types at the agency, they squirm a little, and when they give a little teaser to the stiff shirts at the client – and the response is.

“People are going to think it’s a mistake. By golly it’s a lot of work to do that. We have to let them know that we spend a lot of time and effort putting that rotten egg smell into our natural gas. We have people hard boiling, people peeling the shells, grating and grinding, then blending into a fine mist, and then distributing it amongst the gas in just the right amount.”

So, the Account Manager goes back to the creatives and say,

“They want the words ‘ON PURPOSE’ in the slogan.”

And while the creatives groan – they are just happy that they didn’t come back with something like,

‘GasCo – Fartners in Safety’

So, this morning as I listened to the wonderful tag line….

“We’re the people who put the smell of rotten eggs in your natural gas – ON PURPOSE!”

…I thought about all the people at this utility driving their vehicles down the highway, invigorated by the branding message that essentially says,

‘We are the people that bring you all the fart smells.’

And I wondered how motivating that was.

But it did make me happy that, at Tailwind Transportation Software, we came up with our,

‘Feel the Wind at your Back’ tagline, instead of something with rotten eggs in it.

Heck, if I gave it to the utility guys they would have gone with something like.

‘Feel the Wind below your pants – and ON PURPOSE!’

Ours was a collaboration of sorts. We put the agency guys to the sidelines, because we didn’t want one… okay, we couldn’t afford one.

I had probably talked to over 300-hundred customers about our transportation management software and I was tuning into something profound. I just couldn’t believe the challenges and obstacles that the people in this industry – truckers, carriers, brokers, agents – were facing in trying to get ahead. The regulatory hurdles, the financing, securing the labor, and offices – and perhaps worst of all, in my opinion, the technology providers who seemed to think that spending $30,000 to $100,000 on a transportation management software system before you have even earned a buck – somehow addressed the needs of this industry, helped someone get ahead.

I heard the pain and realized that the industry needed a TMS that

  • Could be adopted quickly
  • Tried out with no obligation or risk
  • Supported by services – live and online
  • Was delivered by a credible company – not one that just sells it, gets their money, and then disappears
  • And one that will be aligned with the growth arc of their customers – charges for it on a just-in-time (subscription) basis – helping them add and subtract users when they need it.

I could see all the headwinds faced by our customers, and it made me realize that the essence of our unique value proposition was found in our company name. More specifically, the way it should live up to our company name. In fact, get back in touch with the original reason our founder called it Tailwind in the first place!

So. I came up with

‘Put the Wind at Your Back’

…to indicate that you can rely on our application, our service, and our insight to give you a lift when you just can’t seem to find it anywhere else. To change the direction of the wind from a headwind to one the helps propel you forward.

The word ‘Feel’ was suggested to replace ‘Put’ by our then company administrator. Petra. She was absolutely right. It was a great idea. It was an ‘ah’ and an ‘a-ha’ moment at the same time.

Freight broker throwing papers in the air

‘Feel the Wind at Your Back’

And as I drove in this morning I was again excited to come and work at a place with a unique mission – one that speaks to helping  and servicing to our customers to success and greatness.

I was proud to be a part of, and to lead, ‘The Wind’- a group of committed, passionate, and intelligent people.

And equally, I was happy that we didn’t have to smell like rotten eggs… at least ON PURPOSE anyway!

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