@edkang99 Life (re)Startup Blog:

#HIITO: High Intensity Interval Time & Transformation Optimization

Everybody has a Brand. What’s Yours in Just One Word? #BrandCulture

Most people don’t recognize that they are a brand. You don’t have to be a celebrity or an athlete. A brand is what identifies your purpose, promise and personality. It is why people want to engage and transact with you. But if you consider “branding” an exercise just for advertising agencies and social media personalities, you will miss out on a huge opportunity to accelerate your professional success and personal fulfillment.


Think of Your Brand as Your Why (in 1-word based on your intrinsic motivations and social DNA)

If you could pick just one word that explains why you do what you do, what would it be? Easier said than done I know. This is why our certified partner Envision created a whole framework called #BrandCulture to help individuals and organizations with branding and communications.

Knowing your Why is powerful. If you have not already, go check out Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why and his TED talk. Your why is what inspires you and others to action. As Sinek puts it, “Do you know your Why? The purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do?”

Where we take it a step further is boil it down to one word. By finding one word, you push yourself to focus. It becomes your north star to navigate through all the details and distractions.

In the recent movies, Our Brand is Crisis starring Sandra Bullock, “crisis” was their 1-word-why. It was simple and powerful helping an underdog political candidate compete against some stiff competition. This is the epitome of the 1-word-why.

Why the MDNA Institute

If you have heard my story, the reason why MDNA exists is because I wanted to answer the question, “Why do I do what I do?” And when I discovered the social science of intrinsic motivation, I had discovered my 1-word-why for MDNA. It was simple. I finally understood what intrinsically motivated me. I created an assessment to help others understand the same. I realized that too many people and businesses are extrinsically motivated. It wasn’t just about motivation for me, it was the right motivation that mattered.


“Motivation” is my north star. Every day I challenge the question, “How do we motivate people?” with another question, “How do we create the conditions where people motivate themselves?” This 1-word-why has become our brand and it has a direct impact on our culture at the MDNA institute. Our brand is our culture and our culture is our brand.

Start with Your Intrinsic Motivation and Social DNA

You don’t need to do an MDNA assessment  (it’s free so why not?) to make #BrandCulture work for you. Whether you are an individual or business, you simply need to know what your core Why is. Deep down, outside of any extrinsic motivators, why do you do what you do? How can you express that in one word and let it shape how you express your purpose, promise and personality to the world? This is your social DNA. It is hard wired into you. Nobody can live it like you can. Your social DNA contains the code for your purpose, passions and potential. In it are your gifts and how you can be a gift to the world.

You Can Make up a Word Too!

To really stand out, you can try to create a unique word or use one that isn’t very common. For example #BrandCulture is technically two words but combined together for a 1-word-why.

Recently, we received a post comment from Barb Dusek. Her business name caught my attention: “Corspective.” This is a combination of “Courage” and “Perspective.” Her tagline reads, “Your Courage, My Perspective… Leadership Development for Busy Professionals.” I thought that was clever and perfect for a unique 1-word-why. Barb also left just the right comment to get me interested which is another factor drawing an audience to her brand/1-word-why. Go check out Corspective’s website to see how she wraps it all together in a nice package that expresses her #BrandCulture.

So what’s your 1-word-why? Let me know. Would love to hear your story.

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