What's In A Word?

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith


There is a theory of ‘corporate branding’ that proposes that the very best companies can credibly reduce their global image to one single word.

Volvo: Safety
Mercedes Benz: Prestige.
Federal Express: Overnight.

Two quotes from the whole idea:

"You have to reduce the essence of your company down to a single attribute, an attribute that nobody else owns in your category."

"Once a brand owns a word, it's almost impossible for a competitor to take that word away from the brand."

Here is the one word attribute that I honestly believe can and should apply to EllisDon: Trust.

First: Because we are willing to trust each other - that is the way we strive to run this company. Talk to the people who work here. Read through our website. We aren’t perfect, but mutual trust is the founding value at EllisDon.

As importantly: Because we tell our clients that we have integrity, and are completely open. That we will show them everything. That we will treat them fairly and ask to be treated fairly. Same thing with subcontractors, suppliers, architects, other consultants, and everyone we deal with. In short that we are trustworthy: every one of us, every day, all day.

That trustworthiness has to be the reality - the experience every day - the very existence of each of us at EllisDon. We should justify our very existence on that word.

I would be happy to hear back – candidly, critically, and of course in trust – from anyone who reads this message.

PS: There was a great election night discussion on CNN about how Barack Obama owned the word ‘change’. Both Hilary Clinton and (later) John McCain started with ‘Experience’, and when they realized that wasn’t resonating in this environment, tried to go to ‘Change With Experience’, but they couldn’t, because (President Elect) Obama already owned ‘Change’ and that was what people wanted.