The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Commitment Is An Act, Not A Word …
September 18, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Marketing, Standards

One of the things that drives me nuts about marketing – and sadly, planning – is the way words are thrown out without ever giving any thought to what they mean.




They’re all words that have been diluted and destroyed by adlands constant dilution of what they mean and who supposedly represents them.

I remember once sitting in a major food companies boardroom and asking them what their biggest innovation of the last few years had been and they said their product – which was once only able to be cooked in the oven – was now able to be cooked in the microwave.

I get that to them, that’s innovative, but to the outside world, that’s bloody embarrassing.

But that’s not what this post is about, this post is about the killing of the word ‘commitment’.

I see it in annual reports. I see it in case studies. I see it in planning decks. I see it in advertising.

And 99% of the time, it’s all complete and total bollocks.

It seems the modern interpretation of ‘commitment’ is anything that results in you spending more than 30 seconds talking about it.

I know we live in fast paced, fast moving lives.

I know we are bombarded with choices and requests.

I know we all have the focus on a gnat.

But commitment is about the long game … and by that, it should be measured in years, not minutes.

Commitment is demonstrated by sacrifice.

Where easier, more populist or more profitable choices are pushed aside in favour of staying true to your belief or cause.

And what does staying true mean?

Well, as the title of this post states, it’s about action not words, but if you want me to be more specific, I’d say it’s demonstrated by investment, action, focus, progress, innovation and measurement.

Of course, any commitment a company or brand has towards a belief or cause should be closely related to their core business and how they operate within their core business – not just because that’s how they make money – but because if it’s not, you have to question how much they really believe in the belief or cause they are claiming they’re committed to.

That’s why I believe NIKE but less so Uniqlo. [Though I do believe Uniqlo for other things]

That’s why I believe GoPro but less so Garmin.

That’s why I believe Virgin but less so Qantas.

But there’s a much simpler way to work out whether a company is truly committed to what they claim to stand for … or even understands what being committed to something really means.

If they ‘relaunch’ what their brand stands for every 12 months, they don’t.

So planners, marketers, brands and companies. By all means use the word, but make sure you do the act.

Over and over and over again.

19 Comments so far
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Brilliant read Robert, especially the point that commitment is about behavior, actions and sacrifice. Very true. More posts like this please.

Comment by George

Like this, but shorter.

Comment by John


Comment by andy@cynic

i mean masochists. fuckit.

Comment by andy@cynic

Don’t beat yourself up – at least the comments were in the right place.

Comment by John

Same applies to ad campaigns that make claims about how the consumption of a service or product is, in fact, world-transforming and, by implication, worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

And don’t get me started about those who extol a generic positive emotion and imply that their product is somehow connected with it.

Comment by John

have you seen the latest johnnie walker fucking shit claiming joy. makes cokes happiness seem almost fucking logical. twats.

Comment by andy@cynic

I have no idea what you’re referring to – ahem.

Comment by John

The JW work is bad. And they tried to make it look like a Wieden spot. Which would be good if it was for Honda but not for JW.

Comment by DH

I have to admit – even though some very good and talented friends of mine were behind it – that I don’t really like it. It feels like the Diesel ‘Be Stupid’ campaign but for wannabe sophisticates. But it’s only the first ad so I have faith it will develop … hopefully in a way with a bit more texture than what is currently on offer. That said, I appreciate the tone being lightened, that was important and refreshing so they get points for that. From me.

Comment by Rob

Who are you?

Comment by DH

I have a theory that Jude Law is the new Jackie Chan – i.e. the kiss of death to any product he is associated with. You could call this ‘The rule of law’. (I’ll get me coat).

Comment by Ian Gee

if youd been married to my exes youd know commitment had fuck all to do with sacrifice and everything to do with how much fucking coin you dropped on them.

Comment by andy@cynic

I hate to say Rob is right but didn’t you sacrifice your happiness and cash?

Comment by DH

Don’t think your corporate toadiness hasn’t gone unnoticed Rob.

Comment by DH

I got some freebie NIKE’s today [admittedly for Otis] so it seems to be working already.

Comment by Rob

It would be interesting for the OED to do a marketing version of their dictionary. Apart from being very thin, the definitions would barely resemble what was once the accepted interpretation. Good post Rob, even though I am certain it will fall on deaf ears.

Comment by Pete

Back in the late 70s, one of the London agencies (Y&R?) did something similar, providing a ‘translation guide’ for contact reports, so that people who weren’t in the meeting could read the ‘official record’ and then figure out what actually happened. It was called ‘Dunkirk without the boats’.

Wish I still had a copy – it was hilarious.

Comment by Ian Gee

[…] saying you care and committing to it are – sadly – very different things which is why it’s kind of refreshing to find […]

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