Mbabane, Swaziland | 9 April 2014
Something is missing from this column. Something essential is absent. If this column is to be taken seriously is needs a slogan – a catchy phrase that sums up the gist of the column’s mission.
And it is not only a slogan that is missing. We also need a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement.
Before you object to the capital letters being used in that previous sentence, you must know that to be taken seriously the Capital Letters are Crucial.
See, capital letters tend to make one sit up straight and take note.
But if I had used CAPITAL LETTERS FOR THE WHOLE WORDS THEN IT MIGHT BE LIKE I WAS SHOUTING.
Whenever I get an email filled with capital letters, even if the email is not abusive, I still get a bit offended.
I’m not sure why, but I can’t help but associate capital letters with shouting.
And when someone is shouting it is not always easy to hear what he or she is saying.
Did I just invent an African proverb?
I’m sure there is already a similar proverb in existence, so I won’t flatter myself.
But with a slogan, on the other hand, you must flatter yourself.
I know this might not sit easy with the religious-minded, for all glory be unto God, but you must tell the world why you are the One for them – you must give praise to yourself.
As a form of research, I decided to walk around town and see for myself how others have given themselves praise. What slogans, for instance, have companies and businesses given themselves?
I could go on all day about the slogans I saw. But let me pick two, in no particular order.
“Moving Forward” was the first slogan to catch my eye. I think it was the slogan for a bank.
It didn’t catch my eye for its uniqueness, because I could swear I have seen it written before, and I know I have heard many people uttering such a phrase. In fact, in certain circles, if you listen carefully one might hear this phrase every day.
What did strike me about this slogan, however, was the copyright symbol that came after words – something like Moving Forward© – signifying the bank’s ownership of these two words. I almost choked on my chewing gum. I never thought such a banal phrase could become to sole domain of one company.
But, now that it is under copyright, I hope their legal officers are working hard to stamp out others from it. I’m surprised the bank hasn’t taken more politicians to court, for it seems the Honourables are somewhat fond of this phrase.
So, for me, Moving Forward, as a slogan, is out – I do not want to get sued for breaching copyright.
The other slogan that caught my eye – “My Champion” – was seen on a billboard advertising condoms. And while I have never been called a champion, per se, I certainly couldn’t argue with the responsible message this billboard was sending.
As you can see, I have spent too much time researching and not enough time deciding: I’ve run out of space to come up with my slogan and Vision/Mission Statement.
Worry not, though, this was done on purpose. It might give me time this week to engage a management consultant (who I just happen to be friends with) who I’m sure will be more than happy to charge big money to “facilitate” such a “process”. Perhaps, as the setting for such a workshop, we could hold a three-day residential workshop at a fancy hotel? I will let you know how it goes next week.
This column was originally published in the Times of Swaziland on April 9 2014.