Sunday, January 01, 2006

Business and firetrucks

I’m going to talk about business and firetrucks, but before I do, let me make the following clear:

  • Firefighters spend lots of time on fire prevention: community education activities and inspections are 2 examples.
  • Firefighters keep their firetrucks clean for lots of very good reasons.
  • Lots of fire departments don’t just respond to fires, many also respond to medical emergencies.
  • Movies and tv shows focus on and depict firefighters sitting around a lot, show pictures of lounge chairs, and show pictures of firefighters always sitting around eating or watching tv.

Ok, with all that out of the way, I have to say that from the perspective of creating a visual image, I like what Seth Godin had to say:

What a great way to describe a stuck but busy organization. "They sure have clean firetrucks."

Godin prefaced this statement with some sentences about how firefighters, when not responding to a fire, sit around and clean their trucks.  Obviously some people got offended and Seth heard about it and apologized.  Ok, so Seth made a broad statement that wasn’t necessarily factually correct and he admitted it and apologized for it, but the key is that Seth’s statement about business is not wrong.  Furthermore, chances are good that when you read his post, you immediately pictures a shiny firetruck in your mind because you truly do not ever see dirty firetrucks (or ambulances or police cars for that matter) — the visual works.

How shiny are the firetrucks at your business?


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