What word comes into the mind of people anytime they hear your name?
In Obama’s 2008 campaign, the name “Obama” made us quickly think “Hope” and this is what his campaign managers and team worked really hard to imprint in the minds of the voters. That anytime they heard or thought Obama they thought hope. He had started this in his earlier publication, the book “the Audacity of Hope” from there he became a messenger of hope and in his 2008 campaign, everything was created around hope or in the least to reflect hope. His campaign posters, his speeches and all other campaign efforts seemed to emphasize the message of hope. This does not mean his campaign was not handling education, healthcare, foreign policy and other issues that were of national interest to Americans. All these were handled but hope for the future was what the Americans needed in 2008. They were already going through a rough recession that rendered millions jobless, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and major terrorist threats Americans were dealing with. What they needed was “Hope” that someday it shall be all well. Obama had embodied the word Hope in all his undertakings. He even carefully warped his own story to reflect Hope all through. When people voted Obama, they voted “HOPE”.
Volvo for a long time has been selling ‘safety’. And this word they have owned for the longest time and it is not a coincidence, it has been carefully morphed into the branding strategy and marketing material that everyone that comes into contact with anything Volvo must meet the word safety. Most car enthusiasts will tell you Volvo is the safest car to drive in. It has been their biggest selling point for so many years and 80% of the people that buy Volvo, aren’t buying Volvo, they are buying ‘safety’.
Mercedes on the other hand have been selling ‘luxury’ and they’ve worked hard in delivering on this promise with every new production that comes out of their factory in Germany. When you drive a Mercedes it arguably has a more luxurious feel than the rest of the cars. Much of their improvements and technology have been to enhance performance as well as keeping the ‘luxurious’ feel in any Mercedes, be it a truck, a sedan or any model, you must feel the luxury when driving a Mercedes.
This is what it exactly means to own a word in the mind of prospects and clients. People need to associate your brand with a particular word to be able to remember you. Before you work on it intentionally, you will hope that it’s a favourable word that you own in the mind of your prospect at the moment. The word you own is a promise you’ve made that they know when they are buying from you, they are buying the promise. If your brand has chosen to embody the word “healthy” people will be buying the promise that whatever you sold them is healthy. Your job is to ensure they don’t find out they bought anything below the promise you made, actually if you can, work to over-deliver. But remember to be as specific as possible, avoiding to sound generic in choosing words like ‘quality’. Even the worst manufacturers claim to offer ‘quality’ products.
Make an effort to decide what kind of promise you want to give the market in one word, a word that would definitely differentiate you from everyone else. Then strive to deliver that promise to the market and your personal brand would be well on its way up to greatness. After all what is a brand? It is a Promise!