For Synchrony Financial, the largest white-labeler of credit cards (Amazon, Walmart, Lowe’s, Gap) the phrase Working Forward expresses their point of view about credit: it's not something for nothing, but requres work. As language, "working forward" is a quirky remix of "looking forward." "Looking" is passive, sort of like "just wishing and hoping." "Working" forward is about actively moving toward a goal. It takes some sweat. The phrase informs the company's brand and is the engine of Synchrony's social programs. A couple of well-chosen words work pretty hard.
Medtronic is famous for inventing the pacemaker. After numerous acquisitions, they needed to express more than that: "We're extending our portfolio into new areas, and we're collaborating with payers, doctors, government and hospitals." Combined, these two new elements of their business meant going Further,Together. The phrase reflects their enterprise business strategy, states a brand promise and offers an invitation to partners and customers. You can scale the idea by adding an active verb: Go Further, Together. You can make it declarative: It's Time to Go Further, Together. It's a simple phrase that goes a long way.
You see beyondness everywhere now. Beyond precision (Buick). Beyond meat. Beyond Bank. Admittedly, Bed,Bath & Beyond was first in 1971, which remains one of the great retail descriptors and store name combinations. But in 2000, BP took a deep breath and set out to transcend a category long stuck in its ways, with beyond petroleum. Debate it as a business strategy, but the big idea was to make people stop and consider their own role in simultaneously using fossil fuels and demanding a cleaner environment. It's the ultimate modern paradox.
Gas stations, a little better
Gasoline is weird. You buy a product you never see at a price you can’t negotiate in a place that's gross. For its retail offering, BP got that gas stations will never be great. But with better lighting and cleaner bathrooms they can promise they’ll be a little better. Here's how much better one station got, Helios House in Los Angeles.
Claritin has a problem. They’re selling a branded pill for a dollar that you can buy in store-branded form for a dime. Worse, “clear” strictly speaking is an absolute, right? Well, not if you throw strict speaking out the window. Then you can make a distinction that Claritin Clear is a higher level of relief. Sure, the cheap pills will make you clear. But could you be clearer? (Debatable as a real word, in my opinion.) Coupled with the famous "Claritin pull",the graphic peel-away effect, it's a enduring, memorable way to claim superiority. Maybe it's not pretty, but it's a $200 million brand in a blood-sport category. Claritin Clear is an idea that showed up and is still pounding it ten years hence.
Liquid Engineering. Truly, a brilliant phrase that elevates black motor oil to something wondrous. Castrol used it back in the sixties, then parked it in the museum. Dusted off, it was reframed in a position that was bluntly on the nose: “It’s more than just oil. It’s Liquid Engineering.” Intentionally didactic to reach the nascent car culture in Asia.
Lincoln Center, the world’s premier performing arts center completed a $1bb renovation to make the place more accessible and fun, and not just for art elites. The vernacular of performance combines with an everyman invite in “Seen it?” For new restaurants and entertainment, the phrase carried the notion further, ala “Tasted it?” “Heard it?” Short, simple and sweetly casual.
You can sum up Europe’s largest maker of trains, turbines and MRI scanners in one word: Answers. You see, Siemens doesn’t just make stuff. They offer answers to the toughest questions on earth: How do we transport people? How do we provide power? How do we make people healthier? Amazingly, the single, simple word “Answers” cleared legal globally. Rarely do the lawyers give you that answer.
Wanta. Once in an orange moon, you get a slang invitation that rhymes with your product name. The brilliant kids in Redworks noticed this and pinned Wanta Fanta to the wall. Even more amazing, senior creative leadership said “That one.” “Wanta Fanta” became the battle cry of the irrepressible Fantanas, four mythical power chicks who kicked in your door and demanded you have fun. Teens loved the word because you could use it as an invitation to all sorts of other activities, such as “Wanta go to church?” “Wanta study?” That sort of thing, you know.
The American Chemistry Council comprises several hundred of your best friends in the chemical business. They, and the millions of employees at America’s refineries, chemical plants, water treatment plants, drug factories, etc. rarely get respect for what they do. And what they do is make cars go, water safe, lawns green, astronauts fly, and cops bulletproof. Chemicals are the essential building blocks that make modern life, modern.
Australian Range Lamb
Around the time "organic" got going, “free range” chicken became the handle for better meat. As it turns out, almost all Australian lamb is raised on pasture. We borrowed a pinch from the chicken people and rather than just “lamb flown in from Australia” we labelled it Australian Range Lamb. The kind of lambs, like chickens, that freely walk around. On the range. In the pure, perfect Australian countryside.