Finding the one word that best defines your brand.

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So you’ve just run a workshop with your team. You have documented the answers to the questions and are now staring at them on the screen. What next?

Work backwards to find your brand strategy. Here are the steps.

  1. Start by identifying the one word that best captures the brand.
  2. List ‘What it means’. A list of examples that demonstrate how the Brand Strategy influences decision making.
  3. Write the Brand Strategy itself.
  4. List of Opportunities. These are more of a communication tool than part of the strategy itself. They help you communicate the value and importance of the Brand Strategy with other stakeholders. It will also help you check if your Brand Strategy is right for your business and if it will lead you to the aspiration brand position and objectives.

In this article, we’ll focus on the first step; finding your one word.

It is a significant first step because it forces you to clarify a core competency or differentiator that consistently trends in your business.

If it is correct, you will find defining it before you proceed with the following steps, it will consistently come up in both ‘What it Means’ and the ‘Brand Strategy’ itself. It will make finding both easier.

Looking over the brand strategy workshop notes and reflecting on your conversations, you’ll find a few words consistently come up.

Start writing these down. Most likely, you will only find a maximum of four or five.

Some ‘one words’ from recent brand strategies I have run include; nurturing, consistent, empowerment, ambitious, fast and community.

All very different, aren’t they? That’s because no two businesses are the same, even if they operate in the same industry.

Businesses can and often do copy tactics. They will copy an ad, a Facebook post, colours, or even what you offer to customers.

What a business can’t do is copy your strategy. It isn’t the publically facing things of your business. It is the core of what you do and why you do it.

It’s like trying to copy someone’s personality. You can mimic someone’s traits, how they communicate and their body language. But you can’t mimic their character.

Your Brand Strategy is the core of your business’s character. It makes your decisions and actions as predictable as a person’s character makes theirs.

Your one word is just that. Yours.

It should be consistent with the brand you have been in the past. It should be consistent with your aspirational brand position. It should be compatible with your competencies.

There is no sense in using ‘fast’ as your one word if you are not above the industry benchmark for speed. Or, at the very least, intend to invest in that aspiration.

Once you have more than one, it’s time to start testing that word by listing your ‘What it means’.

We’ll do that next.


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