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What is says on the tin - Do as we say

What do you want to be known for? It’s a question that I ask coaching clients as they explore situations. Once you know what you want your identity to be, you can then shape the thinking and behaviour that will give off that identity. They then do as they say they want to be. Our identity is formed by our actions.

Brand promise

The same can be said of companies. What do you want to be known for? Then demonstrate that in behaviour. This then becomes your brand promise.

This month we have been looking at Ronseal’s famous advert from 1994, when they declared that their quick drying wood stain ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’. This was a perfect example of ‘do as I say’. People then bought the product because it promised to deliver on its 2 promises 1) stain the wood and 2) dry quickly.

Brand promise can be about the quality of our product or of our customer service. It becomes what we are known for, but only when it is consistently delivered. Any chink or deficiency breaks the promise. That is why customer service training is so important for companies as one customer having a different experience means they have been given the wrong identity and this reputation can the spread.

I met last week with Ashley Bowdler of Force Business Development and we explored the topic of customer service. We both recognised that many companies since lockdown, have lowered standards of customer service and this in turn affects the reputation of the company. The brand promise gets broken.

What helps you deliver the brand promise and do what you say?

· Make sure you have a clear and simple promise

· Make sure everyone on the team knows what it is

· Train the team to understand the behaviours that model this promise

· Praise it when you see it in action

· Give feedback when it is not met so you improve it

· Be relentless


Being authentic, sits at the heart of this, ‘do as I say’ principle. When we are authentic, it is a key component of building trust. We are known for being reliable, consistent and always performing in a certain way.

There was a flippant phrase that I remember that we joked about as young parents, ‘do as I say, not as I do’. This was used to describe inconsistent and inauthentic parenting that we might see. This came back to haunt me when friends came round for dinner a couple of years ago with their family and I was sent to the bottom of the stairs for ‘being gross’ and showing food in my mouth, as I was not allowed to ‘do as I say, not as I do’ by the 8-year-old who sent me there.

Creating a culture of authenticity starts with the leader. A parent needs to model it to their children, as children sniff out inauthenticity so easily and they only follow consistent messages. Leaders need to do the same. What we model is what staff will follow. If it is not too much of an oxymoron, how do you generate authenticity?

· Lead from your core values

· Review daily how you have done against your values

· Ask others to hold you to account on how you are modelling what you want for your organisation

· Mingle with those who will promote & grow those values in you


The impact on Ronseal’s campaign is that it cemented them as brand leader in wood stain and the slogan to become part of our vocabulary for authenticity. The authenticity of the slogan and the consistency of the product meant it was a brand that became trusted to deliver. When we act with authenticity, we develop a trust with people. They know where we stand and we are known for consistency. That then means people trust us as someone to be relied upon. Sounds like a pretty good reason to ‘do exactly what it says on the tin’.

Can we help you?

We hope this blog has been helpful and if you would like some more targeted support to explore creating an authentic organisation, then Everyday Leader is here to help you. Our clients find their coaching empowering, as we help them gain a full perspective and find a way forward. Give us a call on 01449 710438 or email if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you.


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