gm to GM

Or, an accidental lesson in writing a brand vision

I love Twitter because it’s easy and fun to stay current on emerging tech trends like web3. And if you follow any of the web3 folks, you’ll see all the in-group lingo they use (wagmi; ngmi; etc). My favorite is gm, basically an in-group way to say ‘good morning.’ 

This inevitably led to lots of people pointing out that General Motors (aka @GM on Twitter) was missing the slam dunk of all slam dunks by not tweeting, well, gm. 

...which, after seeing this joke enough times, led me to click through to @GM and read their profile. Which is actually the point of this post. It’s a great quick lesson in writing a brand vision. Take a look:

What’s going on: 

Between the visuals and the text “we’re on a journey to create a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” it’s a pivot away from the automobile of the 20th century (gas guzzlers, fossil fuels) toward a cleaner, safer future.

What works for me:

First, I like the technical execution of the written vision, which is using my two favorite communication rules to great effect: anaphora (zero, zero, zero) and the rule of threes (crashes, emissions, congestion.) Anaphora drives home how powerful it would be to have zero of each of these negative externalities. And the rule of three provides harmony and finality. 

Second, there is emotional resonance here. Good visions are rooted in the possibility of change that produces positive emotion. You want people to WANT the future you’re painting. You want them to be PROUD and EXCITED about making it a reality. This vision paints the picture of a great world a lot of people would be excited to work on. No crashes - no unnecessary deaths; no emissions - no planet burning; no congestion - no wasting time in traffic.

What doesn’t quite work me:

The “we’re on a journey” part - I get it, it’s a car company. Cars take you on journeys. But it feels a little too cutesy and makes even this short vision statement feel a bit overwritten.

Second, where’s the proof that GM can do this? Of course, it’s asking a lot to provide that type of proof in a hundred characters in a Twitter bio. But remember: specificity = credibility. And there’s a gap here, because while GM is an iconic car company, they probably aren’t the first one that comes to mind when you think electric vehicles and AI. So what I would do to solve that is provide ONE highly-specific point that drives home how seriously they take the vision and how they will deliver it. Something like this (which is completely hypothetical but helps you get the idea):

“Creating a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. First up: batteries that last 500 miles.” 

What do you think?