Thursday, June 29, 2006

Can Do How Now?

Are the blogosphere and tagspace already fostering an evolutionary response in corporate verbal identity?Looking at the new DHL adverts in the last few week’s editions of The Economist, with their high-impact Hollywood-blockbuster aesthetic, I was intrigued by the organisation’s new corporate positioning statement: ‘The Do-How People’.

The syntax of this sentence jars with me. My first thought was that perhaps it reads better in the original German. The communicative intent is obviously an organisation that combines a ‘can-do’ spirit with some serious ‘know-how’. That the ‘Do-How’ resonates with the D and H in DHL, adds the mnemonic hook that justifies the brand consultant’s fee.

But really: ‘Do-How’? Surely there must be more elegant ways of expressing the desired concept? In these instances I always ask what underlying strategy would inform the decision to agree on that particular form of words?

In this instance, is it possible that this may soon become related to ‘tagging’ the corporate brand? One of the core ideas that I took away from Bruce Sterling’s E-Tech keynote speech was that of naming your concepts so that they are tag-able as much as Google-able. (Bear with me regarding those hyphens.) A quick check against Sterling’s Spime’ meme on Technorati demonstrates how his naming strategy successfully facilitates my joining the conversations about that topic.

By implication, stewarding a brand today also means making it tag-able. Think about the Corporate Marketing function at most large multinationals, their corporate name is a given and unlikely to change soon. When their corporate name functions as a tag in the online environment today, it will be equally denoting critical conversations as well as favourable conversations. (The most clich├ęd example being the ‘Why X-Corp Sucks’ class of web page.) So in this environment, a novel tactical strapline can become a more useful asset than was previously the case. And, I suspect, the more novel it is then so much the better. We may begin to see a Darwinian evolution of somewhat ungainly taglines as brands compete to put up some bait for the folksonomies.

Getting back to ‘Do-How’ as a novel tag. A quick Technorati tag search for both the ‘Know-How’ and ‘Can-Do’ tags leads to a lot of varied content. Unfortunately a similar search for ‘Do-How’ tags does not yet lead to anything related to what people are saying about DHL today.

Perhaps now is the time to revive the humble word ‘Tagline’? It has fallen out of usage in favour of the more grandiose-sounding and value-added flavours such as ‘Corporate Positioning Statement’.

Delicious Tags: | | | | |
Technorati Tags: | | | | |