Corporate Eye

One Word Branding

One word branding is not a new concept, I just gave it a name. In short, one word branding is the process of picking one word (or phrase) that your brand owns in the minds of consumers. Here are some examples:

  1. Volvo = safety
  2. Harley Davidson = freedom
  3. Disney = family

The purpose of one word branding is to narrow the focus of your marketing and branding efforts to find out how you want your brand to be positioned in the marketplace and in the minds of consumers. By picking one word or phrase to signify that position, your marketing investments will be be more targeted and more effective.

One word branding is another way of identifying and meeting customer expectations. Once you know what customers expect from your brand, you are better able to meet and exceed those expectations. One word branding is an easy way to remember the most important expectation. If you can’t live up to the one word that your brand owns in the minds of consumers, then your brand is doomed to failure.

What other brands can you think of that own a word or phrase in the minds of consumers? Leave a comment and get the conversation going!

Photo: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

A couple that I liked

Airtel (mobile operator) – Express Yourself
Hutch (mobile operator) – Hi!
Nike – Just Do it

Companies need to be careful when picking words or phrases to associate with their brand to or they’ll end up looking stupid like Microsoft after it’s “Where do you want to go today?” campaign

I’ve seldom seen a brand that can be clearly distilled down to one word. It’s ideal, but I’m always happy to get it boiled down to three words, with accompanying visuals to help clarify things.

And don’t confuse that one-word brand with a tagline or slogan like Just Do It. Honing down that core brand concept is a completely different exercise than writing a line like just do it.

xerox = copies
google = search

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