You ever sit in the yard and pull weeds? It’s a horrible job and even worse metaphor for what I’m about to share. My job is not pulling weeds but “pulling proof.” Brand discovery is all about the search for proof points. What is a proof point? It’s evidence. It may be an action. A practice. Perhaps a milestone. A result. Proof is existential. Why is proof in branding so important? Because 90% of all consumer facing advertising, packaging and promotion is sizzle. It’s claim, claim, claim. A promise without any foundation.
If an ad makes a claim about a product or service and the consumer asks “Why?” or says “Prove it,” is there a suitable response? Is there proof? Almost always there is not. That’s why brands today are media driven not idea driven.
Proof is what you use in a debate to make your point. Proof well told (McCann-Erickson’s mantra is Truth Well Told) makes a superior debater.
The process of brand discovery begins with proof pulling. Then organizing the proof into care-abouts and good-ats. Then, if you learn the language of the consumer, overlay some category culture, and organize your findings, you may have yourself a brand strategy.