boil down

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Having worked the last couple of years for an internet start-up and a consumer product launch I can tell you how important the “idea” is when it comes to bringing something new to market.  


The web start up was not easy to explain. It was part social network, part web development tool, part web portal. Try ‘spaining that one Ricky. The consumer product was a nutrition and protein drink, boasting the highest form of pure, drinkable protein – highly desirable qualities among the infirm who cannot stomach lactose, sugar and thickness of the shakes currently dominating the market.


When a new product is released to market it needs to be easily defined.  The definition needs to resonate with consumer, the media and the product’s sellers.  It requires a single statement of product, value and benefit.  To get to that simple statement requires many decisions about what not to include.  This is the “boil down” process. You boil away the extraneous, and what is left is the most powerful, flavorful truth about the product.    


This statement is the “suit strategy” and it is the most critical part of the brand launch. It galvanizes the company, informs the markets and gives creative people the direction for the creative. Once fed and cared for over time, the suit strategy morphs into the “branding idea.” Campaigns come and go, but a powerful branding idea is indelible.


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Brand Planning


Brand planning begins with a question and ends with an idea. What happens in between can be magical.  If the branding idea is powerful enough, it can generate billions. If focused enough, it can alter markets and change corporate structure. If creative enough, it can impact culture and influence language.  Powerful branding ideas can be indelible….but only if understood, operationalized and well managed. 


Branding ideas are strategic, not tactical.

Branding ideas are simple, not convoluted.

Branding ideas are inspirational, not congratulatory.

Branding ideas are personal, not global.


The art of brand planning is found in the “boil down.” Knowing what not to include.  It is the most important discipline in the craft. Presenting the boil down to clients makes the fur fly. It makes people raise their voices. It is cathartic. The boil down is the money. Peace! 


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