Branding 101 – The Law of the Word

Published on Feb 29, 2008   //  Marketing Tips

Branding 101The law of the word in regards to branding is that you should strive to own a word in the mind of your consumers. The one industry you see this a lot in is car manufacturers. Vehicle makers strive to own words to capture customer verticals.

Test your knowledge and guess what word these 3 aim for:

Mercedes
Volvo
Nissan

A great example of owning a word was how FedEx dominated the business world for deliveries. Competing against UPS and Purolator, FedEx did a bold move and guaranteed over night deliveries. By doing this they owned the word overnight and there was a point where you would hear just “FedEx It” instead of “Ship it overnight”.

If you own a business or web site then find a word that you can own. Then build your branding and business culture around that word. If your going to choose ‘Fun’ as your word then make sure that your business, product and customer experience is fun.

We picked the word community evolved (yeah I now it’s 2 words). Do you think that applies or should we go back to the drawing board?

5 Comments to “Branding 101 – The Law of the Word”

  • “Community influenced” would probably be more accurate…

  • I would suggest if you want to brand for your company to choose a good slogan. Because with my own experience, with a good and constructive slogan you will show visitors and potential customers that you are a professional company

  • I agree… “Community evolved” can be true for the big names, Y, M and G but for others can just influence it…

  • I think “community evolved” misses the mark. It doesn’t line up well with the service being sold. When people think “web hosting” they don’t necessarily think, “I wish my web hosting was community evolved.” So if you own the words “community evolved,” what have you really gained?

    I wouldn’t want to drive a car that is “community evolved.” I’d want to drive a car that is expertly designed and engineered — by professionals who know what they are doing. Same with my hosting. I want hosting that is reliable, priced well and provides excellent customer service. If my hosting company is community evolved, does that really add any value to it?

    Okay, so maybe it means BlueFur will listen to my ideas about what I want. But more than that it makes me feel like the relative handful of people who are active on the blog are the ones that are driving the direction of the company, which is not necessarily representative of all the customers (what small percentage of BlueFur customers have ever posted on this blog?).

    While I like the community aspect of BlueFur, it’s not necessarily true that all customers are looking to join a community when signing up for hosting services. They want reliable hosting service that they don’t have to worry about — and they might not want to feel like they have to be active in the community in order to maintain good service and reliability. They may not have the time or inclination to be active on the blogs.

    So I don’t think that “community evolved” is a strong word/phrase that embraces the needs and wants of all BlueFur customers, and it’s not really a strong selling point. The word you own should reflect a key benefit of your product. Maybe you could send out a survey to all your customers to find out what benefits they most appreciate about BlueFur hosting and then choose a word that describes that.

  • Your input is greatly appreciated. I agree with some of your points but when the idea came to me here is what I was thinking.

    By owning the word “community evolved” in the hosting industry it provides customers several benefits. A common place to share ideas and experiences with others who are looking to build and market their site(s). Instead of just getting hosting which is becoming more and more like a commodity to customers you are getting the shared knowledge and benefits of a large community.

    I agree with your car example but what if 100’s or 1000’s of drivers all provided suggestions on how to improve a particular car. In those suggestions a common theme appeared, do you think that it would help them to add it or fix it?

    Currently our blog is viewed by 15% of our customers who can provide input at any time on topics. That number increases by 1-2% each month. Yes it will not always be reflective of all customers but the initiatives put forward will be developed for those that do participate. So if your someone that just wants hosting then you will get that and your input will not be required. If your someone that wants something that is specific and others also want it, does it not make sense that we see if it is something we can provide to evolve our service to better service our customers?

    The problem with sending out a survey to all our customers is that it violates our own spamming policies. Although the information would be extremely valuable I would never spam them to get it.

    The features that most customers would say are important would be: reliable, featureful service, price and location of servers. All of these things I do not think any hosting company can really own in our industry. They are all things you can say I should hope so to, I should hope you have reliable servers, I should hope you have lots of features, I should hope the price is reasonable and I should hope the location of the server fits where I need it to be.

    There were was another idea that I had of a word we could own.

    The one that I believe would be the best is following education. Provide webinars, ebooks, tutorials and wiki’s to help customers with development, marketing and business to be successful. The problem is almost no one reads the ebooks, tutorials, wiki’s or attend the webinars. This is still a work in progress to find out what would make this successful.

    If you have any input I would love to hear it.