campaigns come and go a powerful brand idea is indelible

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The tagline for What’s The Idea? is “Campaign’s come and go…a powerful brand idea is indelible.”  Perhaps a little lengthy and the real ballast lies after the ellipses, but it works. And that brings me to taglines; taglines and strategy.

Here’s an admonition to all brand managers and CEOs — Don’t use a campaign line as your tagline. They are communications or ad-focused, not strategic. One that immediately comes to mind, one that hits close to my planning heart, is the tagline for Northwell Health. Their tagline is “Look North.” Other than suggesting one look at Northwell, it doesn’t really have a strategic message. Wasted space, if you ask me.

I wrote a tagline (and brand strategy) for Beacon Health Partners, an accountable care organization that was strategic “Healthier Practices.”  That’s was the claim. It applies to improved physician practices, both economic and in the healthcare delivered. It applies to patient practices, putting more responsibility on people for their own health. And it appeals/applies to payers, the insurance companies who carry much of the reimbursement water.

Strategic taglines come from brand strategy companies. Tactical, flimsy taglines come from ad agency creative departments. Big diff.

Peace.

 

 

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Insights and Briefs.

tighty-whitiesI love my briefs.  Not tighty whities  or bike shorts. Brand briefs.  I’ve got a million of them on the hard drive. What gets my engine going when reading old briefs are the insights.  Insights about targets, consumer desires, claims and proof arrays.  Insights are the stim creative people crave.  When well done, insights wrapped in a poetic, meme-able packages, light fires under art directors, copywriters and creative directors.  

Insights are catalysts supporting the brand idea. A good brief will offer up multiple insights – but it’s the creatives who figure out which are most actionable, motivating and fanciful. 

Early on I recognized I’m only about 15% creative. I’ve worked with, studied, and stalked some of the great creative minds in the business. I’m not them and never will be. Being a diagnostician and insight doctor is the next best thing.

My old briefs remind me of the love. Campaigns come and go, a powerful brand idea is indelible.

Peace, in this “post truth” campaign world.

 

 

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Were I to conduct discovery on What’s The Idea?, my brand consultancy, and articulate its claim, it would probably be “A powerful brand idea is indelible.”  My email signature and tagline use this statement behind the words “Campaigns Come and go…”

So that a brand strategy isn’t perceived as a one-trick pony, I employ a proof array comprising 3 support planks. This allows for pluralism in the brand story. This allows for a the claim of brand value and, hopefully, superiority to have multiple dimensions. All of which build the case and brand value. (If the claim and proof array theory isn’t working for you, please email for examples. Steve@WhatsTheIdea.com.)

I’ve never written a brief for What’s The Idea? Amazing! It probably would be a good thought. Shoemakers children and all that.  So sans brief, what might my three proof planks be for the “indelible” idea?  Let’s think on the fly:  

  1. Indelible means Memorable. Easy for consumers to play back, either in conversation or visual imagery.
  2. Emotional. Something that is near to the heart of the buyer. I refer to care-abouts often in my blogging but an emotional care-about trumps a wan care-about any day.
  3. Optimistic. A plank should be positive – toward the category, the purchaser and the marketing order supporting the commerce. Leave bad news for the media. Good news is branding’s purview.

There you have it, 3 proof planks for the powerful “indelible” idea. Now, off to work.

Peace.   

 

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My friend Terrence and I once drove to John Hopkins University from NY to see a wonderful panel of physical anthropologists speak. Big, full auditorium.  I was never one of those “ooh, ooh, ooh kids” who asked a lot of questions in class, but during Q&A time, from way in the back of the expansive auditorium, I asked paleontologist Tim White of UC Berkley, how he thought man was currently evolving.  The question got a giggle or two from the room. (Doh!)  He went on to say brains cases would get bigger and women’s birth canals also…

I love to think about what’s next. It suits me well as a brand planner. The future takes up a good deal of my time at What’s The Idea?.

The future of marketing, product and delivery are not always top of mind for clients. It’s a shame. Had Intel thought this way it may not have had to lay off 12,000 worked yesterday.  Healthcare providers need to think about the future, but they don’t; it’s all about the next diagnosis.  Google needs to think forward and it does. But they need to think forward not about cars and energy, but also about their current search focused product line. And monopolies.

The brand strategies I develop always have the future in their peripheral vision. The strategy developed for Northwell Partners nee North Shore LIJ Health System, is as relevant today as it was 15 years ago.  

If your mantra is “Campaigns come and go…a powerful brand idea is indelible,” the work must be future proof.

Peace.

 

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I wrote a brand brief 12 years ago for an organization that helps developmentally disabled adults.  The organization wanted a logo, so I wrote a brief.

A couple of weeks ago I read about this same group in the newspaper and decided to reach out to see how they were doing.  I sent an email over the transom to the new head of development, along with the brief.  My hope with all brand briefs is that they will live on and on. They are crafted to do so. Each brand strategy (1 idea, 3 planks) is meant to hold the value proposition together and motivate action and loyalty over time.  Even through agency changes and campaign changes.

The women responded this morning with a lovely long missive. It seems the brand idea is still relevant. Though the organization’s mission has changed thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, most of the brief elements are still valid, especially the idea or brand strategy. 12 years ago housing was the key goal, today it is employment. The target was broader in the original brief, while today it is focused on donors.  I’m proud of my 12 year old brief. She has grown well and strong.

This little exercise, checking in on briefs and brands of yesteryear, is worth pursuing. In this case it proves “Campaigns come and go…a powerful brand idea is indelible.” Peace.

 

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