Because I work with clients on brand messaging and corporate missions, I was curious about a new brand, introduced with a full page ad in the business section of the newspaper. (Yes, I still read newspapers.) I couldn’t tell who they were or what they did — were they being deliberately coy?
What I found was amazing: A hilarious parody of corporate branding videos! Full of lofty but meaningless phrases, set to happy faces in corporate settings. Pretentious and phony, over the top! Clip-art-y graphics, fancy production. Someone spent a lot on this elaborate, beautifully executed joke. It was very funny — until the horror crept in.
Andeavor is the new corporate brand that combines Tesoro’s refining operations and their acquisition of Western Refining Logistics. Visit http://www.andeavor.com and click play. Check it out right away because I wonder how long it will be available (so far, it’s been months). Surely, someone in the $38 billion, 13,000 employee company will realize how ridiculous this is.
“We are creating our future, building on our experiences to achieve more than we once thought possible.”
“We are more dynamic than ever.” (What does that even mean?)
“We are determined to be better today than yesterday; and better tomorrow than today.”
“We are strengthened by our diverse backgrounds and experiences, limitless in our combined talent. And we work as a team, sharing a belief that when we combine our knowledge, experiences, and drive to make a difference, we can create something better, in a spirit that celebrates where we’ve been and sees no limits to where we can go.”
I work on mission and values with most of my clients and the number one rule is authenticity. A cynical view of corporations is that they care only about profits but in my experience, most want to make the world better through what they do. A good mission statement honestly and humbly reveals who the company is at heart, what values move them through their days, and helps customers, employees, and partners know what matters. It guides everything.
I expect that Andeavor is run by well-meaning people who are proud of their company. It’s a shame that their fancy video got away from them because further down the page, they communicate some real values: They have a solid set of Strategic Priorities: “Operational efficiency and effectiveness; value chain optimization across our system; financial discipline; value-driven growth; and a High-Performing Culture built around collaboration.” They focus on safety, community, performance, customer relationships, and their workforce.
I wish they’d said all that in the video. Instead, they said: “Go for extraordinary.” I would say they achieved that today.