Trying to Build a Big Brand? 8 steps for THE Right Word.


In my previous blog post “Trying to build a big brand? Do you own THE right word?I explained why “owning” a right word is the most important step in determining success of your brand. In this blog post I will explain what makes the word you choose the ‘right’ word.

How to arrive at the right word?

Till the time you become proficient in the process of arriving at the right word, you should start with brainstorming to list down as many words as you can think of. As discussed in my previous blog post Trying to build a big brand? Do you own THE right word? this exercise is best done in a group represented by different functions particularly PMT, field, medical and training. Ideally, the group should also include the customers. In absence of physical presence of customers, you should ensure that before the exercise starts, field has captured customers’ voices. Once you have made exhaustive list of words, you should begin the process of zeroing down to THE right word by applying the following 8 criterion.

  1. Congruent 
    This is obvious. The word has to be congruent with the properties, actions or benefits of the molecule. You can’t pick any attribute and connect it to your brand. There has to be medical rationale for the word you opt for.
  2. English 
    While the word you select has to be backed by medical rationale, selecting a medical word like ‘dual action’, ‘specific’, etc. can never have the desired impact and sustainable marketing campaign. Though your communication will be medically acceptable, it will never bring your brand to top of the mind of your customers. Remember all such medical words are done to death.
  3. Fresh 
    For heaven sake don’t even think of commonly used words like powerful, safe, etc. Whole pharma industry is using these words. It is next to impossible to differentiate your brands using such common words. Don’t settle for something easy. Try hard to come out with a fresh word. If you still don’t get it, try even harder. Remember, you don’t have an option of lowering the bar.
  4. Juicy 
    Many a times, after a campaign or two, a marketer hits a dead wall. The reason being that the word you have chosen doesn’t have enough juice in it. Before zeroing down on any word, ask yourself if it is extendable communication plank. When I zero down on any word, I ask myself whether I can build campaigns around it for at least 36 months. You may also apply the same criterion. You may find it difficult to envisage in the beginning, but experience will make you proficient.
  5. Built around ultimate benefit or emotional benefit 
    Remember, your job is not to promote the molecule, unless you are an originator trying to create the market for a totally new concept. Your job is to build big brands. The word you select is your marketing hook. Picking any of the molecular attributes will amount to loss of marketing opportunity. You brand will get lost in hundreds of me too brands who communicate the same thing. The challenge is to take the molecular attributes to the next level. The best way is by asking the question “so what” and keep on asking this until you are satisfied that you have successfully derived either the ultimate benefit or emotional benefit. By doing so you will enter the zone within which lies the right word that you are looking for.
  6. Differentiating 
    The reason you want to own a word is to differentiate your brand. Hence, the word you choose to own should really create that difference. Remember, you are trying to differentiate your brand where no differentiation exists.
  7. Virgin 
    Don’t try to own the word that is already owned by your competitor. Going back to the example that I gave in the beginning, if you were to launch a soft drink, would it be good idea to own up ‘thanda’? Obviously not as its already owned by Coke. Even if you try this, you will end up exhausting your entire marketing budget without desired returns.  It is better to look for a word which is not “owned” by any other brand. But mind you, when I say “owned by the competitor”, it has to be strongly entrenched in the mind of the customer. If any of your competitor is just ‘promoting’ or ‘printing’ it on the literature, it doesn’t mean that they are ‘owning’ it.
  8. Relevant 
    Even if you follow all these steps appropriately, but if the word that you choose is of no great relevance to your customers, he is not going to be too excited about it.

To sum up, arriving at the right word is definitely a major leap in the right direction. Arriving at the right word may not guarantee you the huge success of your brand. But choosing the wrong word will guarantee its failure.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Trying to Build a Big Brand? Do You Own THE Right Word?

Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -          Chinese proverb Even the process of building a big brand...