Bankrupt Branding

Published by

A lesson from one


 of the masters . . .


You run a business. You know that when you’ve got something good, you run with it, right? Wouldn’t you expect something better from one of the world’s leading brands than a half-hearted, slipshod application of their “signature slogan” theme line?

On the heels (and after many years) of one of the most memorable slogans in history — “Leave the driving to us!” — the company came up in 2007 with one of the all-time worst slogans: “We’re on our way!” [Typical consumer response: “Who cares?”]

“We’re on our way!” totally disregarded the surge in consumerism which rendered this kind of chest-beating as inappropriate and ineffective. (And to put the icing on the cake, Greyhound reportedly spent over $60 million trying to shove their braggadocio down consumer throats!) This move was so predictably bad that had they spent even one nickle on it, they would have been making a poor marketing and management judgment.

Ah, but there was a comeback. Almost. Greyhound finally did outdo itself by actually topping that “Leave the driving to us” classic with this more recent touch of brilliance [and I truly do mean brilliance]:

Greyhound. Stop Less. Go More. 


Wow! What a terrific branding theme line. It says so much with so little. It’s customer-focused. I saw it on the side of one of their buses cruising down the New Jersey Turnpike. (Yes, it is true that occasionally one may be fortunate enough to actually cruise on this road that’s eternally jam-packed with Evil Knievel and Kamikaze wannabees.)

But then a funny thing happened.

A second Greyhound bus passed that, instead of the great ‘Stop/Go” theme on the side, had some very somber and unintelligible statement on the back that was an assertion of sorts about a business alliance with some organization whose name was replaced with a totally obscure logo that seemed about the size of maybe a golf ball or two. . . not terribly identifiable at 65mph.

Awhile later, I noted yet another Greyhound bus that appeared to have nothing on it except their famous racing dog  logo.

SO what?

Here’s what. It makes no marketing sense whatsoever to have different vehicles from the same company displaying different graphics and not capitalizing on the proven importance of repetition in selling. Can you imagine spending millions of dollars to establish a theme line (or signature slogan as Greyhound calls it) and not have that line appear in every conceivable application?

And is it a no-brainer to put it prominently on the sides of vehicles you operate?

Now this is no small-time company here. We’re talking about the largest North American intercity bus company, with 16,000 daily bus departures to 3,100 destinations in the United States. That ain’t hay. Yet the money they spent might as well have been hay.

If giant corporate entities like this haven’t the sense to get the right kind of marketing input, just imagine the plight of small business enterprises.

But small business can do what big business cannot. Small business can turn on a dime, be more innovative more quickly and capitalize on opportunities as they surface. Small businesses can also make the kinds of marketing-judgment and tweaking-help choices that big businesses can’t make without getting themselves too tangled up in politics.

I have always thought Greyhound to be a great company with great service and a reputation to match, but in the instance cited, they have clearly failed at making the most of what they already have, to achieve their goals quicker and more soundly.

Don’t waste your time, money, and effort trying to be too smart about too many things. Bring in a fresh, informed and experienced, outside perspective to turn what you have to say into a marketing message and approach that energizes employees and suppliers, and that — most importantly — stimulates and generates sales.

302.933.0911  Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals!

God Bless You. God Bless America and our troops.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

Click Here to Comment On This Post

Please Feel Free to Leave a Comment Below


Tag Cloud