An easily understood name that resonates with people will be your most valuable asset. When choosing one for your organization, you’ll quickly find that the right one will inform your overall brand strategy. The two are inherently linked because everything starts with the name: the personality it conveys (professional or witty) to what products or services you offer (your industry).
Elon Musk’s SpaceX employee email subject line says it all: “Acronyms Seriously Suck.” Any inclination to go with complex acronyms that are obtuse and understood only by insiders will confuse your audience. Rule of thumb: Unless the acronym is globally understood, don’t use it.
Focus on who you are, what you offer, and who your audience is. The more you narrow your focus, the quicker you’ll arrive at that perfect name. Concepts that evoke visual images are also a great resource, as they can play in your entire design strategy and aesthetic direction. Remember: tap into words that speak to a consumer’s need to be heard and understood.
2. Promise Statement
The promise statement is a short internal and external facing statement of value and purpose. It’s the genuine and honest version of the dated approach of creating a “mission, vision, and values” statement.
People are oversaturated with companies professing “integrity, quality, and excellence.” Avoid words and phrases so overused that they have become white noise.
Craft a promise statement that holds you and your team accountable by focusing on the value and purpose of your company. Make the value you bring to people’s lives transparent, authentic, and aspirational.
EXAMPLE – Our Promise Statement:
We promise to help you deliver your promise honestly & awesomely. Perfectly crafted, iteratively improved, consistently maintained, & organically growing user-centered websites & web apps that are fast, reliable, & secure. It’s what we do.
A powerful brand stands out among its competitors. Dare to be different and embrace what makes you, you.
Avoid fading into a sea of monotony. There is a reason you started your organization: there is a story. Don’t blur yourself in the big blue ocean of competitors.
Why should someone choose your organization over another that does the same thing? The more you can identify your target audience, the more apparent what differentiates you from others. Learn from your audience and refine your differentiators to align with what your users truly value. By understanding their needs and how you alone can fulfill them, you’ll be able to run marketing campaigns that convert through messaging that sticks.
It’s one thing to write, but entirely another to write with intention. Based on an organic keyword list, we write a strategically selected group of words that you should rank for in search results against your key competitors. By incorporating it into the brand from the beginning and using a standardized naming convention, we begin to create a brand language (product names, titles, and description) focused on maximizing reach. Remember, language is the essence of culture.
Avoid ambiguity & assumptions. The most common bad habit we’ve seen around brand language is inconsistent terminology, and presumptions around the terms used are most commonly understood.
The language around your brand must be concise and accessible. Write each word with intention and purpose. Eliminate redundancies (i.e., making the same point but differently)—research which words to choose to maximize understanding and reach. My favorite tool is Google Trends which allows you to compare terms to identify the most commonly searched and widely used. Let’s take, for example, user interface design vs. UI design. The “rule of thumb” of not using acronyms would lead you to believe writing out the complete term instead of using UI would be better, but notice how much more commonly used UI design is than its full counterpart, hence a definite exception to the rule. By being intentional in your brand language, you maximize future organic growth in all aspects of your organization.
By now, you should have a clear idea of what your brand’s voice should be. Whether “witty, smart, innovative and friendly” or “professional, experienced, knowledgeable and fatherly,” the voice establishes the creative direction behind all aspects of your organization. This voice gives your brand its personality and facilitates ease of use.
Not selecting a voice will lead to your brand having what is akin to a personality disorder often materializing as consistency issues in your user experience. Don’t expect your brand’s voice to appear out of the blue.
Make an informed decision on your voice after finalizing the previous steps. What is most appealing to and appropriate for your target audience will determine your voice and give your brand its personality. Define your brand voice by utilizing traits you would use when describing a person.
Brand Strategy Success
These five steps toward a sticky brand lay the foundation for building experiences that connect with users. Create memorable experiences with a clear brand strategy that resonates emotionally. Tie this together with informed design and <damnGoodCode/>. You’ll find yourself surrounded by happy customers who are brand ambassadors while running an organization poised to iterate, adapt, and grow with future demand.