What are you looking for?

What Wheel of Fortune Can Teach You About Your Brand

Posted by on August 3rd, 2021
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Branding   

I grew up watching the television show Wheel of Fortune. We didn’t spend every dinner in front of the TV, but when we did, I loved to solve the puzzle. Now that I look back on it, I think it’s possible those early word puzzle experiences made me a better brand consultant today.

On every episode of the game show, the final puzzle is solved by the top scorer. The finalist is given 30 seconds to solve the puzzle. In the early days they were allowed to choose 6 letters to have filled in before they started guessing. Anyone who made it to the final always chose the same 6 letters: The most common 6 letters in the alphabet—R, S, T, L, N, and E. In fact, it became so common that eventually Wheel of Fortune just started giving contestants those 6 letters as a head start.

After many years helping nonprofits of every kind make their brands stronger, we’ve also noticed a pattern. We see the same personality traits emerge in the brand strategy sessions we lead for our clients. Ask a group of board members and nonprofit executives to consider their brand personality traits, and you’ll hear many of the same words again and again.

These words represent some very important ideas, traits any nonprofit wants to embody. But they are also so commonplace that they should be considered given in any discussion about brand.

These are the R, S, T, L, N, and E of brand personality traits:


Each one of these brand personality traits represents an admirable quality. Who doesn’t want to give to an organization that’s trustworthy, or visit a site that’s welcoming and friendly? Everybody wants that. And everybody expects that.

It is expected that you and your team exhibit these notable traits. You must be reliable, honest, welcoming, knowledgeable, and passionate about your cause because your stakeholders expect it of you. And if your stakeholders expect it of you—and of every other organization—these personality traits won’t differentiate you from others. Being appropriately good won’t help you stand out. You have to be special. And you have to make sure you do everything in your power to promote your unique traits.

Think of the greatest brands in the world. Their brand personalities shine through in distinct and memorable ways:

  • Apple: Surprisingly, delightfully, simply innovative;
  • Nike: Elite and empowering; 
  • Chipotle: Simple, casual, and proud; and 
  • Southwest Airlines: Caring, funny, and human.

Great brands have unmistakable, engaging and unique personalities. They push past the R, S, T, L, N, and E and become an original, identifiable voice in our lives. Your brand must do the same. As you consider your brand personality traits, push beyond the obvious. Find the missing pieces. It’s the key to solving the puzzle of your brand.

Is your organization trying to build a brand that represents your unique, and individual voice? Mission Minded can help! Reach out to us so that we can explore the possibilities for you!


Zach Hochstadt is a Mission Minded Founding Partner and runs Mission Minded’s Denver office, leading the company’s creative teams in the areas of message development, writing, graphic design, and web design and development.

See all posts by