Tim Leon
President/Brand Strategist

It’s Brandolicious

I read an interesting article in the New York Times recently on the growing trend of marketers making up words of their own in place of real words. They’re disregarding all those great “real” words from the Webster College Dictionary (all 988,968 of them) and generating new, more interesting and memorable invented words in order to create some ownership and branded terminology. But why?

While there’s nothing new in the marketing world about making up words that describe your brand or brand identity, it’s interesting why there has been such resurgence. Sprint’s solution to a “friends and family” calling plan is simply called, ‘Framily.’ TJ Maxx coined the word ‘Maxxinista’ to describe their fashion-forward, value conscious customer. I’m one of them!

There are a couple techniques to creating a brilliant made up word and using it to build your brand. First, take two common words and smash them together. Take the word turkey and vegetarian, and you have the famous Butterball “turketarian” campaign. Easy. Or take a portion of the brand name and use it as a verb, like in the case of Mountain Dew – “This is How we Dew.” How about “Lets Go Krogering” or “Google it.” It’s fun and memorable. And many times, it’s an effective strategy to strongly tying in the brand promise or key brand messaging

There seems to be a strong digital advantage to these made up words, which could contribute to this resurgence. The New York Times article quotesMick McCabe, Chief Strategy Officer at Leo Burnett USA in Chicago, who said, “What’s different is the speed and velocity of the cultural uptake of language. Social and digital platforms provide the ability for something to become a widespread cultural phenomenon very quickly. It’s a feeding frenzy for material that the world of technology provides.”

So start thinking about a new word to describe your brand or brand experience. It may not make the Webster Dictionary, but you may create a valuable asset that helps give your brand a much-needed “lift.

As far as that Butterball “Turketarian” campaign, according to Bill Klump, Senior VP of Marketing at Butterball, the campaign — in print, radio and social media — “is working so well that we’re expanding into TV spots, starting next month.”

That is brandolicious in my book.