The holy grail of impact-driven category naming

I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” — Diana, Wonder Woman movie

Remember what a huge deal it was when a female superhero had her first solo movie? How we all rallied? How we cheered her on? Why though. She is a fictional character. Why did we consider her victories to be ours?

One word — IMPACT. Why do I like superheroes so much? It is because of how they impact me. They make me believe that I can and should stand up for something.

I googled the word “impact”. Here’s what I found.

Source — Google (Definitions from Oxford Languages)

When Gal Gadot entered no man’s land to “save everyone” it impacted each of us differently. Successful leaders are great at unifying communities, societies, and countries because they speak with impact-driven words. They do so effortlessly.

Eg: — I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.” — Martin Luther King

I have a dream.

Source —

The power of impact keywords is that each of us interprets them differently. It’s personal without it being about the person that said it. I have a dream wasn’t about Martin Luther King. It was about every individual who listened to that speech that day. It's about each of us who have listened to it 50 years later. Martin Luther King is not with us, but the “DREAM” lives on. That's the power of impact.

I think this has something to do with cultural anthropology. I must confess to not knowing much about this field. I just started reading Cultural Anthropology: Appreciating Cultural Diversity by Kottak. But I do know Obama ran on change and hope. Change is such an impact-driven word that can be interpreted differently based on the individual’s behaviors, socio-cultural norms, religion, economic condition, lived experiences, and more. It cannot be a coincidence then that Obama’s mom Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, was an anthropologist.

The holy grail of impact-driven category naming is when you can find two or three words that convey purpose, behavior, and function. Let’s continue with the Obama example. He used CHANGE.

  • Change communicates purpose
  • Change communicates behavior
  • Change communicates function

It personal without trying too hard. It’s deceptively simple and yet is multi-layered. It’s open to interpretation. It’s inspiring. It’s unifying without comprising the individual.

In this age of hyper-personalization when marketers drop cookies, obtain third-party data, use hyper-targeting tools, personalization tokens, impact-driven categories and movements have a transcending effect. They transcend tools, time, and generations.

Don’t get me wrong I’m in no way discounting all these marketing tactics. But they are tactics and everyone is doing it. As Steve Jobs said — marketing is about values. And values are personal and shared. It’s about the individual and the collective. Impact-driven categories encourage individuals to make their own impact. It’s less about one person, company, one way of thinking or winning and more about sharing and unifying whilst still maintaining our individuality.

The future of our planet depends on category creators' ability to create impact-driven narratives that leverage the shared power of the collective to influence a movement that in turn influences policy. All great revolutions have been driven from the bottom up. There is real power in individuals telling their story for a unifying impact.

I have a dream. As Christopher Lochhead says “impact matters”.

Impact-Driven Category Designer | Working group member Wicked 7