brand claim and proof

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Kylie Jenner’s makeup sold $420 million in 18 months with minimal advertising beyond her Instagram posts. Her lip kits and eyeshadow palettes, at one point, retailed for $27 and $42 respectively. At a street fair on Long Island teen girls were falling over themselves to buy the stuff. The police showed up after a while, arrested some entrepreneurial boys hawking the cosmetics, all of which turned out to all be fake. The teens didn’t seem to care.

Kylie got some game. Kylie has a brand. Just ask my SnapChat stock, which lost mega value when she dinged the platform after it updated the interface.

If you are not Kylie Jenner and there is not pent up demand for anything and everything you touch, you need a brand strategy. In fact, in 15 years when Kylie isn’t hot (commercially), she may rue the fact she didn’t establish an organizing principle for her brand. Kids!

Creating brands out of people is hard. Creating brands for companies and products is easy. Claim and proof is the fasted, most enduring way.
If you are interested in some success stories and examples, write


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Critical to the success of social media or content marketing strategy is the concept of “motivation.” Borrowed from the acting world where a good actor uses a motivation to bring his or her character to life, motivation in social is meant to drive all that is posted and pasted.

Social media motivation is not random – it’s a direct outgrowth of brand strategy. Motivation must illuminate and demonstrate the claim and proof array that are a product’s brand strategy. This opens up and speeds up consumer understanding of brand strategy. It brings brand strategy out of paper mode and theory mode and into experience and action – creating muscle memory.

A customer care person on the phone who understands a company’s brand strategy can decide on the fly how to act. How to deliver. How to behave. This is where acting can turn into reality. And reality into culture.

Strategy is brilliant but until it turns into product, deeds and experiences it’s just ink on a screen. Peace.



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The best definition for brand planning I’ve come up with is “an organizing principle for product development and marketing.”

The way I organized a brand plan is with one claim and three support planks. The supports must be connected and have to prop up the claim.  Interestingly, the support planks don’t have to be in harmony…and often aren’t.  For instance, if one plank is “brilliantly engineered” and another is “competitively priced” those two things are often at odds. But that’s a different story.

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the brand claim or promise, as some call it, needs to be soft.  When soft it can cover a lot of ground — meaning nuanced things to different people. A good soft claim is friendly, strong and conveys approachable meaning.  Product cheerleading is not approapriate, but cheerleading may be. A good soft claim is like an emollient.  It should offer a bit of whimsy.

Proof, on the other hand, must be hard.  Oak hard. Because these are the things that drive product development, company behavior and consumer perception. They are the reasons to believe the claim. They are hard because when you conceive and array demonstrations beneath each proof plank there should be no room for interpretation. They are either “on plan” or “off.”    

One soft claim, three hard proofs.  This is how we do–oo it.  Peace!


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