The Rule of Three in Branding

Nike strapline

Words or phrases in groups of three are ideal ways to communicate an idea – whether it’s a tagline with just 3 words or text grouped into 3 bullet points.

The human brain is more receptive to receiving information in groups of three because we are programmed to respond to patterns – and three is the smallest number of elements required to create a pattern.

We’re so used to it that we don’t even think about it. A history of learning (ABC, 1,2,3) and storytelling (Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Musketeers) has tuned our brains. It’s why the three-act structure is used in plays and movies (beginning, middle and end). We naturally divide content into three, such as: Gold, Silver, Bronze; Small, Medium, Large; Good, Better, Best.

So how can the Rule of Three be used to your advantage?

This familiarity with groups of three is harnessed to good affect in public information campaigns. We all know Stop, Look, Listen; Reuse Reduce Recycle; and, more recently, Catch it. Bin it. Kill It.

Breaking down a key brand message into just 3 components or just 3 words can give your brand a key advantage. Whether it is used in your marketing or as a tagline to a brand logo, three is the magic number. Think about it. How many of these do you know?

Just do it
Vorsprung durch Technik
Every little helps
Your Flexible Friend
Taste the difference
I’m Lovin’ It

Include the brand name for added emphasis

If you want your audience to remember your brand name, you might want to include it in your tagline. Adding repetition in word sounds or alliteration can elevate it even further.

Beanz Meanz Heinz
That’s Asda Price
Maybe it’s Maybelline

Think in threes

The Rule of Three in branding can be very powerful. All of the examples above are now embedded in our psyche, they’re synonymous with the brand. And that’s why many taglines are just 3 words. They’re memorable, reinforce the brand’s values, and immediately recall the brand to mind.

If you want to connect with your audience, if you want them to be engaged, and if you want them to remember you, think in threes.

Ready, Set, Go!

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