Home Uncategorized How to Use the Telephone Game in Your Retail Brand Strategy

How to Use the Telephone Game in Your Retail Brand Strategy


By Garrett Rossero
Faculty Member, Retail Management at American Public University

When you were young, do you remember playing the telephone game? The rules of this fun and sometimes challenging game can translate into advice for a retailer launching a successful product or campaign or seeking to enhance the customer experience.

As someone in the field of retail sales who has endless opportunities to spend a lot of time with customers, I often find it fascinating to hear their perceptions of a company’s brand ideologies, concepts and programs.  It is clear that when a message is created and goes from function to function then passes over to the customer base, facts may be changed, stories exacerbated or filtered.  These message changes seem to occur more commonly when the message is communicated from person to person.

Some messages that are successfully communicated, however, and the key to that success seems to be following the principle of less is more. Expanding on something unnecessarily often dilutes the message.  As a retailer’s message flows back and forth down the two way street of commerce, so must our fluency in delivery. Grade school may have been a long time ago, but the messages taught don’t seem so elementary any more. As my kindergarten teacher would tell us when setting up the rules of telephone, “Keep it simple, stick to an easy and compelling story and the story will stick.”

Studies have shown that when a brand displays and communicates a distinct identity clearly, it is then that it captures the audience’s attention.  Adhering to this “telephone” concept can help organizations to deliver brand ideologies and identity successfully to consumers. Just as important as what it shares, is important that a retailer truly listen to its customers’ messages to ensure customer satisfaction and to keep ahead of competitors.

In the end for retailers, while this concept is elementary, there is a valuable lesson learned in all of this; those valuable communication lessons we learned playing the telephone game in kindergarten still apply.


About the Author:

Garrett Rossero has a BA from University of Pittsburgh with emphasis in Economics, Criminal Justice, and Forensics. He has an MBA from Norwich University with emphasis in International Business and Strategic Management. Since graduating from the University of Pittsburgh Mr. Rossero has gone on to work at leading corporations such as American Power Conversion where he was a Enterprise Account Manager responsible for managing Fortune 500 accounts such as 3M, Borders, Mellon Financial, Ford Motors. Presently, he is a Manager of Sales and Business Development for L’Oreal USA representing brands across 190 retail outlets.