Just One Word. . .

Could you sum up everything your business stands for in just one word?
Last year, M&C Saatchi caused a storm in an advertising tea cup by launching its agency’s new ‘big thing’.
Saatchi …

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25th October 2007 at 4:29 pm

Could you sum up everything your business stands for in just one word?

Last year, M&C Saatchi caused a storm in an advertising tea cup by launching its agency’s new ‘big thing’.

Saatchi suggests that the world’s most powerful brands are built on simplicity – creating a powerful and single-minded thought – that in a perfect world, would be summed up with just one word.

Hmmm. . . ? Does the same apply for small businesses I wonder? As I sit and Scraatchi my head. . .

As a marketer and writer, I know that making something simple and single-minded is a tough challenge. I know that simple is good – because it makes it easy for others to get hold of. And let’s face it, that’s where the money’s at.

But one word? And not just one word – each business has to own a different word. Surely demand would quickly outstrip supply – and the big boys will win in the scrum down. . .

Check out the argument at onewordequity.com – those clever chaps have made the concept into a fairly cute podcast. Let me know what you think.

I think that small businesses should challenge themselves to articulate simple, compelling propositions. I believe that fancy creative ideas are no substitute for a grounded and motivating ‘reason to believe’ – especially for the small business. But one word??

Urm. No.

Sara Scott

Sara is a marketing specialist with a wealth of on-line and traditional experience. With award winning credentials as an advertising writer, her career also spans the disciplines of planning and strategy for both B2B and consumer clients. Having worked for one of the the UK's biggest non-London agencies, Sara now works on a consultancy basis for clients large and small. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk/blog

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  1. Ron McDaniel says:

    If you consider how important word of mouth is, then simplicity is equally important. Most people will not go to great efforts to understand and talk about you.

    They will talk all day long about simple concepts that are interesting.

  2. One Word Equity eh?

    Let them eat cake…..

    As a concept it is admirable and plausible. However, in practice it falls down on the basics.
    For example the reality of business and commerce in the entire western world is that 99.9% of all enterprises are small businesses. In the UK alone there are over 3.3 million enterprises which are active, yet employ only 1 person! So, are we really to believe that each can perform some heroic landgrab on the Oxford English Dictionary and capture the essence and spirit of their cause in one word… I don’t think so.

    Also, small businesses don’t have the vast resources (financial or human capital) required to indulge in such mental onanism (or should that be one-anism?) – that is to say, I bet getting the one word equity religion is a sobering experience, budget wise! Isn’t it, Mr S?

    However, as a concept I think it has brilliance as a heretical one fingered salute to the over-hyped, over-complicated and intellectually vacant messages generally associated with marketing at the highest echelons.

    I am going to explore the relevance of the concept with a range of small businesses (via my student contacts) as an academic exercise – and I promise to post further comments (edited strategically to protect the innocent and those of delicate disposition) as the feedback comes in.

    In one word. Doh!

    Martin Mc – Lecturer and researcher in Small Business Marketing

  3. Slightly more achievable, but no less useful, is the three word mantra for your business espoused by the likes of Guy Kawasaki, who I interviewed back in SmallBizPod #21.
    I like the idea of a mantra too. Means you can get your elevator pitch in, even if you’re lazily only travelling one floor!

  4. I fully appreciate Lord Richard’s call for one-word equity as a coherent summation of the brand meaning into a simple trigger that allow for brand appreciation
    I believe that every great brand becomes stronger by integrating its multi-variegated points of mental association into a central word that can diffuse its substantive meaning to the consumers

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