Sunday, June 19, 2005

Good is good enough.

originally uploaded by wily.
Currently, the wave of business-talk is about "...exceeding expectations."

There is an intrinsic problem with "...exceeding expectations" - the expectation will soon exceed all abilities to satisfy it.

Here's how it works.

Start: I expect a great hamburger.

Next: I get a great hamburger.

Next: The great hamburger becomes the standard.

Next: The standard becomes the expectation.

Result: The great hamburger is not great anymore.

Next: Hamburger is FREE! with the purchase of a Star Wars toy.

Can a business continually "exceed expectations"?

Can God create a rock so big He can't move it?

Now, onto the attached graphic - can the HyVee pharmacy provide a guarantee that is BEYOND the limit?

Can HyVee provide 110% service?

Of course not.

Yes, I see that the 110% is actually a reflection of the 10% price guarantee, but it's a stretch and more of a reflection of poor copywriting and concepting skills.

Anyway, this is just a gimmick. Everyone knows that the whole is the sum of its parts.

2+2 cannot equal 5.

The problem with these messages is not that they're cheesy gimmicks, but that they - well intentioned or not - set an unreasonable tone that eventually jades the market place.

A long time ago, I created a slogan for a company that used the word "good."

The client wanted "great."

Actually, the client wanted, "GREAT!!!!"

The problem was, we weren't GREAT!!! nor would we EVER be.

But we could always be "Good."

Damn good, in fact.

Scary good!

"Good" was a word people could understand.

"Great" is a word that sets some pretty tall expectations. Most of the time, they fall short.

I suspect HyVee wants to be good.

Damn good.

Scary good.

And so, I suggest that they eliminate the 110% slogan and go with something they can manage...


HyVee Pharmacy - the most expensive pharmacy on EARTH!

HyVee Pharmacy - have your arm & leg ready at the payment window!

HyVee Pharmacy - so expensive, Bill Gates makes payments.


HyVee Pharmacy - everyone on earth says we suck.

Then, even the slightest gesture of employee kindness is going to be seen as a blow-mind experience.

Customer: I had this amazing experience today.

Customer's friend: Oh yeah?

Customer: Yeah. I had to get my Vicodin refilled.

Customer's friend: Oh yeah?

Customer: Yeah. At HyVee.

Customer's friend: Oh noo!

Customer: No! It was actually...pretty cool! The girl was very nice, she said hello and everything!

Customer's friend: Noo! Hello?!?

Customer's friend: Yeah! Then she said THANK YOU!

Customer's friend: I don't believe it!

Customer: It is true! know what?!?

Customer's friend: No! Tell me!

Customer: She stapled the receipt to the bag and actually billed my insurance company!

Customer's friend: You're kidding! I'm going to have to go there!


Or maybe they could just promise to give 50%.

Side note...

HyVee is a regional grocery store that has a reputation for excellent service and great training of young people. My family shops there and we like it.