How to Brainstorm Your Brand’s Word of The Year
Brands that inspire
Inspiring Your Brand Forward for 2024
In the ever-evolving world of business strategies, setting a ‘word of the year’ is a trending exercise that many have started to entertain. Although it may seem just like any other fad, this simple, annual practice is a powerful tool that can help shape the choices and direction of your business for the next 365 days out. (That’s a really big deal.) Around here, you know we’re big on inspiring brands forward. So, we want to give you the framework to set a word of the year for your brand. We hope that it can serve as a compass to establish purpose and clarity in all you choose to do in 2024 and beyond.
Setting a Word of The Year
Before we dive into the exercise, we first want to explain the benefits of it.
By selecting one word to define your year, you’re ultimately setting the tone for an entire time period that is yet to come. It creates a standard to uphold and shows everyone within your organization where to put their focus.
Everything you do, everything you are, and everything you wish to become can be backed by a single word. The best part? It’s easy to remember! After all, it is just a word.
All successful businesses forecast in some way towards the new year ahead. Goal setting, revenue predictions, and economic fluctuations are all important things to consider when preparing for a new year, but all that data can quickly become overwhelming to your team and feel out of scope.
When you present a word for the year, you bring definition to all those plans and predictions. You create confirmation and easily sum it up for your team to know what it all means.
Take the word “alignment,” for example. If that’s your word of the year, here’s how you would put it to use. Let’s say you were considering taking on a random project. But it happened to be outside of your ideal customer or even your service.
At that moment, you could ask yourself, “Is this project going to allow us to live out [word of the year]?”
If you plug alignment into that sentence, you can see pretty quickly how much clarity is given.
Business and brand goals are going to continue to change as you grow but each year, it’s wise to choose one word that can define your current focus. Whether it’s for growth, continuity, or something else, there’s a word out there that symbolizes and summarizes the year you are planning for. But how do you decide?
How to Pick Your Word of The Year
Just like it is when planning anything, there has to be a layer of brainstorming.
To productively brainstorm, you have to cast vision and get the weigh-in from others you trust (your leadership team).
Set up a time to collectively discuss with them after individually and privately going over the questions below. This exercise is what sets the stage for purposeful discovery in potential words that’ll define your year.
Questions for Vision Casting
- What are our core values? What part of our values do we want to emphasize or reinforce within our company culture and client experience this year?
Identify the fundamental principles that you feel best define your business or brand.
- What overarching goal or aspiration do we want to achieve in the upcoming year?
Envision the big picture and set a target for the upcoming year. Think of it as one goal to serve as an umbrella for all the other goals.
- What areas of improvement or growth do we envision for our business in the coming year?
Get specific here. Pinpoint precise aspects of your business for growth and development.
- What terms or phrases have represented or aligned with the essence of our brand or encapsulate our mission?
Write down every word that comes to mind. Think of words you use frequently in your messaging or when describing your brand.
- What emotions or feelings do we want our employees and customers to associate with our company in the upcoming year?
This is where you tap into the emotional driving force of why you do what you do. Consider your brand’s emotional impact. Think about this for both an internal and external level.
These questions will help lead you to the right word for your brand. Your word of the year will begin to call itself out through the answers of you and your participating team members. Look for the common patterns and narratives. Highlight and circle them. These are the values and goals that matter most to your team and will help you to summarize what is most important.
Towards the end, take 5 minutes to individually select 3 words that you feel align with the new year ahead. Have everyone present their 3 ideas for what the word of the year should be. Write all ideas on one page. Discuss them. Then narrow it down to the top 3 and put it through a final test.
You’ll want to run each of the 3 options against this final question:
“WHAT WORD, WHEN APPLIED TO EVERY DECISION AND ACTION, CAN HELP DRIVE POSITIVE CHANGE AND PROGRESS WITHIN OUR ORGANIZATION AND HELP FULFILL OUR MISSION?”
And suddenly, there you’ll have it. Your 2024 Word of the Year.
The LRobInspires Word of The Year
Our Word of the Year for 2024 is RESPONSIBLE
Going into 2024 we want “responsible” to be at the forefront of everything we do. This word reflects our heightened awareness and passion for taking ownership of all aspects of how we service our clients and operate as a business and as individuals.
We want to be conscious of the products we are using and purchasing as a brand. Ensuring they are fair trade and sustainable. Researching and knowing where they are sourced, what they are made from, and if employees are being paid fairly. “Responsible” will carry us through every aspect of our brand. From driving our efforts to choosing who we work with. After all, one that does good, gives back, and considers the impact it makes on the world.
Setting a word of the year is more than a trendy exercise. It’s a powerful tool to shape the course of your brand and business. At LRobInspires, we’ve seen firsthand how this practice can elevate an organization. It’s amazing how one word can create a cohesive company culture. It will bring clarity and it will align your team with a shared focus. Surely, we believe it will help bring your vision to life. And, if you would like us to help you workshop your word like we did, we’re here to help!
We can’t wait to hear yours!