Simplifying your messaging will help it spread. Here are examples:

I just caught this Adidas ad where they are messaging a relationship between Adidas and “future”:

It reminds me of something I’ve been working on with a few people – simplicity in messaging.

If you can at all do it, just use a single word in you messaging like Adidas did with “Future”. You can see this in all the best brands.

Simple messages are easier to remember, repeat and pass on. The more complicated it is, the harder it is to remember. One word is about as simple as you can go. They also let you self-identify: The word “future” means one thing to me and another to you, and we can both associate that with Adidas without conflicting.

Longer messaging complicates things and makes it harder for someone to associate. If Adidas went from “future” to “great future”, “future now”, “future fast” or anything else there is little value-add in the additional word. It would be complication for complications sake.

Another great example is Coke and “Enjoy”. Charlie Munger talks about Coca-Cola’s association with all things positive in this great read. The goal is very simple and Pavlovian – Coke wants to be associated with every positive thing in your life. Christmas? Coke. Party? Coke. Enjoy? Coke.

And of course Obama and “Hope”:

Obama Hope Messaging

I’ve asked many people now to name a product when prompted by “Enjoy” and nearly everyone says “coke”.

Positive, open-ended and meaningful words that people can ascribe their own meaning to will help you push your message. Some of them are even more subtle, consider Amazon and “Smile”:

Amazon Smile Messaging

They don’t even say it. Subliminal can be powerful at the disadvantage of people perhaps missing it entirely. The more famous FedEx hidden arrow illustrates this:

FedEx Hidden Arrow Messaging

Here’s one I made for United by modifying their United/Continental branding and adding “Arrive”:

United Arrive Messaging

“Arrive” is a wonderful word to add to a travel brand. I was going to add “Secure” to McAffee’s branding but they already did it:

McAffee Secure MessagingHow about a VC firm like Bessemer? I like “Innovate” over the more descriptive “Venture Partners” (which is the original):

Bessemer Original Messaging

Bessemer Innovate Messaging

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