Does Your Brand Own Words? How To Choose Your Own Brand Words

There comes a time in a brand’s life where it looks around and notices it has built a nice reputation for itself. It has loyal followers, an engaged community and a collection of words to call its very own.

Words? What are you talking about, Bareknuckle?

We’re talking about the web of words that forms around a powerful brand. Like the 8 planets (7 if you work at IAU or were born after 2006) that revolve around the bright and powerful sun, a strong brand will attract certain words that help to tell the brand story.    

The moment a brand owns certain words, It. Has. Arrived.

Play a game with us so we can further prove our point. What brand do you associate with the following cluster of words (answers at the end of this post):  

  1. Magic, Mouse, Dream
  2. Angel, Pink, Lingerie
  3. Force, Luke, Father
  4. Rollback, Everyday Low Prices
  5. Chill, Binge
  6. Viva, Gambling, Shotgun wedding
  7. Dirty Mouth

If you’re suddenly in the mood to stock up on family sized bags of candy and binge-watch childhood animated films in your loungewear, then you get the idea. Owning words is about being top of mind when a potential customer stumbles across this word.

For small businesses, owning words is equally as important. If you’re a breakfast spot, you want to own the term “Sunday brunch” in your community. If you own a surplus restaurant supply store, you better be top of mind for every restaurant owner in the area when they think “restaurant supplies in bulk”. So how do you go about owning words?


Starting Off Right: Choose Words to Own

Quick, describe your business in a single sentence.

Got it? Now choose the one or two words in that statement that you own or want to own. That’s your focus. Now you can extrapolate off those words–but don’t go too far or it will dilute your brand.


Business Name: Leesa Mattresses

Brand Description: Mattresses That Offer Support, Deep Rest and Comfort For The Whole Family.

Owned Words and Phrases: Deep Rest, Support, Comfort and Family


own brand words

If you look closely at the brand, you will see how these words ripple out to their brand practices. Leesa Mattress also donates a mattress for every 10 they sell. That’s another way they show support. Leesa’s messaging focuses on the the role of the bed in our everyday lives, beyond sleeping. Their messaging focuses on themes of family and comfort and how their mattresses offer support in life.


Finding Your Brand Words

Struggling to find your words? You’ve got some preliminary work to do. If certain words aren’t coming to mind for you, how will you expect them to be top of mind for your customers?

Whether you’re a startup or a family-run business that’s been around for generations, it is crucial that you identify a few key brand words that will guide your entire brand. No matter what, customers will associate your brand with certain feelings or words … even if that feeling is “apathetic”. Take control of the dialogue around your brand.

Here at Bareknuckle, we start all of our clients with a process called The Code, which is our in-depth, nerdy approach to establishing what makes your brand original and valuable. The process is where we plant the word-seeds that your brand can eventually own.  


What You Can Do Now

  • Play a little game of word association. Take 5 minutes to write your brand’s name big in the middle of the page and write down every word you associate with your brand. This is just a quick exercise to wrap your arms around your brand.
  • Pay close attention to the words customers are using to describe your brand. If you see positive recurring words, adopt them into your brand messaging.
  • There are also words you do NOT want associated with your brand. We call those “Off Code”. Understanding Off Code words keeps your brand consistently on target.

Need to start from scratch? Buy us a beer and together we will see if your business could benefit from The Code.