Pizza Hut, in a recent search for a new social media manager, used a creative approach to put potential candidates to the test. Its advertisement noted that candidates would have 140 seconds to sell themselves in an interview. It seems like a short time — and it is — but in this digital age a social media manager needs to understand the importance of short, concise and meaningful messages and be able to create and use them effectively. Pizza Hut's interview time specification is similar to Twitter messages («Tweets»), which are limited to 140 characters. It was brilliant thinking on the part of Pizza Hut to find the right person for the job!
This brought to mind a TV show I watched as a kid, Name that Tune. The host of the show would offer a subtle hint about a song and give contestants the opportunity to choose how many notes they needed to name the song. The conversation went something like this:
Contestant one would say, «I can name that tune in nine notes.»
Contestant two would reply, «I can name that tune in eight notes.»
This would go on until one contestant challenged the other to «name that tune!»
So, where's the similarity, you might ask? In both Name that Tune and Pizza Hut's creative hiring approach, the key is being able to recognize a message or song from a brief, concise snippet.
Think about Twitter's limitation of 140 characters (letters, spaces and punctuation) to communicate a message. Obviously, it's essential to be direct and to the point. Could you create or distill your vision or mission statement to fit into 140 characters? How about your brand promise, or a compelling statement about your customer service?
How about this — is your company recognizable enough that you could create a brief statement, without including the name, from which your customers would be able to ... Name that Company?
Let's try a couple examples. Can you name the 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)
These short statements — well under the 140-character limit — offer descriptions that are clear enough for many people to identify these businesses (Nordstrom and Southwest Airlines). Why? Because these companies have invested time and effort into making such promises and then consistently, reliably delivering on them. And customers notice.
So, are you up for the challenge? Can you state your brand promise in 140 characters or fewer? And, more importantly, do you deliver on it? Would your customers be able to answer with your company's name by simply reading the short, concise description?
If you haven't already, create a brand promise (vision, mission, etc.) that fits within the 140-character guidelines. That will ensure it is brief, concise and easy to remember. And then, work to make sure your company reflects the statement well enough that if someone heard it they would say, «I can name that company!»