Marketing and the Power of One Word

To marketers, the notion that every word matters, and that tweaking a word here and there can make a huge difference in how your message is received, is no huge revelation. But, in our research and consulting business we find that clients are often looking for that secret sauce to help turn the perfect word or phrase into marketing gold. Our job is to help them get there and we have tools and services that help peel back the layers of what will connect with the target audience. Every day I see cases where a single word makes all the difference. Here are three examples taken from the genral marketplace:


When I saw Trident’s Candy Cane flavored gum, I had an immediate positive reaction. Maybe it was the feeling of the holidays or just that I like the taste of candy canes, but I grabbed a few packs and, in addition to keeping some for myself, enthuastically gave some to others. Everyone raised their eyebrows and was excited by this fun flavor. But, you know what candy canes taste like? That’s right…peppermint. And, have you ever heard of peppermind gum? Of course you have. It’s probably one of the most popular flavors. So, is this “candy cane” flavor notably different than the more traditional “peppermint?” No, it’s not. Maybe there are subtle differences, but that’s not the point. More than likely this is nothing more than peppermint gum repackaged as candy cane. Potential subtle taste differences aside, I was excited by Candy Cane whereas Peppermint is just, well, peppermint.


This one’s easy…Sea Salt vs. Salt. Would “Chocolate Almond & Salt” sound very good? No, it would not. Can the average consumer taste the difference between sea salt and regular salt in their granola bar? I doubt it. Sea Salt sounds fancy. It’s exotic. It’s of the sea, damn it!


I’ve always loved this one. Excedrine also markets Excedrine Migraine. Which one do you think is stronger and offers more pain relief? The Migraine one, right, especially since migraines are way worse then regular-old headaches? Nope. The active ingredients in Excedrine and Excedrine Migraine are exactly the same.

There are countless examples of this and I think I’ve made my point. Every word matters and how different words (as well as phrases, colors, treatments, etc.) will resonate with different target audiences varies greatly. Take care to consider and test thoroughly and let me know how we can help.