The dictionary defines congruity as meaning: agreement, harmony, or fitness.
That definition can also be used to define the ideal business, one where all parts of the business are in agreement, harmony, and / or fitness.
In that ideal business, all facets of the business fit together. Each part (department / function / activity / etc.) should complement the other, and together they all work to build the total. That means marketing makes the promises, production / fulfillment keeps those promises, and the administration manages it all. For example, if the marketing department was designing a promotion, all elements – the message, the paper, logo, the typeface, the look, feel, and texture – should be congruent to maximize the effectiveness of the message. To illustrate my point, one would choose different fonts to publicize a circus versus a mortuary.
Professionally produced marketing and advertising are usually congruent, but do-it-yourselfers often try to stretch their budget, and the result is often incongruity.
Last week, I pretended I was the “Incongruity Police” and found the following:
- A hair salon advertising expensive spa treatments and other luxuries by using an ugly, hand-drawn, off-center “magic marker” sign in the window. The sign promises luxury and beauty, but it is so incongruent that I wonder if anyone has bought the service. The Incongruity Police have issued a violation!
- An investment advisor sent invitations to a seminar with inserted hand-cut coupons that looked like an eight-year-old had cut them out. The coupons looked so cheap and uninviting that one would wonder about the quality of his financial advice. The Incongruity Police have issued a violation!
- A car dealer uses exactly the same photos in advertisements week after week… for months. Anybody reading those ads would question why those cars haven't sold or whether those particular vehicles were ever in the dealer's inventory to begin with. The Incongruity Police have issued a violation!
- A manufacturing company makes a high quality, durable, useful, productive product, but their parts department ships the parts in three days while their competition will ship the same day the customer places an order (if ordered by 2 pm). The Incongruity Police have issued a violation!
- A home cleaning company has vehicles with their tagline painted on them advertising that “We'll Leave Your Home Spotless”. Yet, those vehicles are filthy, and you don't want to look at the inside with fast food wrappers strewn about. The Incongruity Police have issued a violation!
Remember the “Incongruity Police” are watching.