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Create Your 140 Character Brand Promise

brand-promiseWhat’s Your Brand Promise?

Recently Pizza Hut placed an advertisement to interview candidates for the position of social media manager.  The catch was that the candidate had to sell themselves in an interview that lasted 140 seconds.  That may not seem like a long time, but in the digital age of social media, short, concise and meaningful messages are important.  So Pizza Hut took a page from the Twitter playbook, who allows messages up to 140 characters, and came up with the idea that the social media manager should be able to sell themselves in less than 140 seconds.  Brilliant!

Somehow this reminded me of a TV show I used to watch when I was a kid, Name that Tune.  With a subtle hint, the game show host would ask two contestants to state in how few notes they needed to Name that Tune.  The dialogue went something like this:

Contestant one would say, “I can name that tune in eleven notes.”

Contestant two would say, “I could name that tune in ten notes.”

This would go on until one of the contestants challenged the other to, “Name that tune!”

So, what’s the point?  Somewhere between Name that Tune and the Pizza Hut search for a social media manager is a lesson.  Short, concise and recognition are words that come to mind.

Twitter gives us just 140 characters or less to communicate a message, forcing us to be direct and to the point.  Can you create a vision or mission statement shorter than 140 characters?  What about your brand promise or customer service commitment?

Even better, is your company so good at what they do – so recognizable – that in just a few words, that don’t use more than 140 characters (including spaces) the typical customer would be able to name your company?

For example, can you name that company that is:

A chain of department stores that is known for its amazing customer service? (76 characters)

An airline that has reasonable flights, fun flight attendants and lots of peanuts? (88 characters)

In one sentence that happens to be just over half of the 140 characters, these descriptions are clear enough for the average person to identify the business.  Why?  It’s what the business promises and obviously what the business delivers – and what they are known for.

So what’s your brand promise?  Do you deliver it?  Are you known for it?  Can you state it in 140 characters or less?  Can it be so concise, yet descriptive, that without mentioning your company’s name, the customer would know it was your company?

Here’s the goal:  Create your 140 brand promise (or vision, mission, etc.)  Make it short, concise, easy to memorize and be reflective of what your company is about, so that if someone heard it they might say, “I can name that company!”

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times  bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

  1. Love this! When it takes too many words to describe your offering, you’re trying to hard and your customers are going to turn off. This isn’t so much of a by-product of all the technology that is influencing us. It’s always been true. As my old boss used to say, “I don’t want to hear developer speak”.

    • Hi Julia – Thanks for your great comment. It may not be a by-product of technology, but sometimes technology can remind us of some very important things. Hope you’re doing well and maybe it’s time for another power lunch.

  2. What a challenge, Shep! I love it. I tried first selling myself in 140 seconds (hard to do when you’re in marketing and tend to be more on the long-winded side!)… then I tried to make a business brand promise in 140 characters or less. I think it should be a task for any brand manager or brand advocate. It could be a quiz for their job anniversaries, to see just how well they know their own brand! Thanks for the great content. I really enjoy your articles, posts, etc.

    • Hi Jodi – Love your comment. I read that article about Pizza Hut’s 140 second interview and it really made me think. It did the same for you! Glad you are enjoying the articles. Thank you!

  3. I might take this idea a bit further by creating a personal, generic business card with just my bare contact information; name, address, telephone number, email address. On the back side put my “140 Character Brand Promise” printed. Many people might not remember the text, but this might reinforce what I just said.

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