care-abouts and good-ats

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In my brand strategy presentation I share real examples. The first couple of minutes are about theory and process then I trot out real client strategies, sans brand name, as they are proprietary.

The first examples, which everyone sees, is wonderfully tight, uncomplicated and easy to reckon. It’s for a commercial maintenance company – the people who keep buildings clean and operational: vacuuming, washing windows, emptying garbage and keeping the grounds in order. This particular commercial maintenance company had no brand. It had a logo, invoices, website and a strong owner.

When all the care-abouts and good-ats were understood and assembled, and the boil down complete, the brand strategy became quite obvious: “The navy seals of commercial maintenance.” The claim was supported by proof planks: fast, fastidious and preemptive.

As brand strategies go – and they are always 1 claim and 3 proof planks – this was a particularly easy metaphor. Not all are this easy. Done well, all brand strategies have a mellifluous quality to them. Almost like a song or hook, constructed out of product or company notes that create pride and desire.

Peace.

PS.  If you’d like to see the presentation, please write Steve@WhatsTheIdea.com

 

 

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The company Reputation Management has asked me to comment on how a brand can bounce back from poor online reviews.

I believe it’s best to leave them up. As hard and painful as it is, it’s “real world” online commerce. Not everyone is a super model. Not everyone bats .400. To err is human.  How you overcome quality or service problems dictates how you improve. If a product has flaws, fix them. Or acknowledge why they happen. When Chipotle made people sick, it acknowledged “farm to table” is not easy. Healthier is not easy. And they changed.

When Marmot, known for quality in winter gear, gets a bad review, it isn’t defensive, it works even harder to make better product.

Today, if an e-commerce site doesn’t have poor reviews people know it’s been cleaned.

Also, a strong brand strategy (one claim, three proof planks) is also a good way to maintain reputation.  Using an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging feeds the market the information it needs to understand your product. When care-about and good-ats align, brands are hard to tear down. When you simplify and strengthen your value, a few disorganized comments won’t hurt. They just make you real.

Peace.

 

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My uncle Al Heckel was a great sailor. Renowned along the south shore of Long Island for his sailing prowess, Al used to ask me as a kid to crew with him, something I wasn’t too keen on. Too slow for me. At his funeral, his grandson Hankie mentioned Al used to say “sailing makes the world big again.” Love that quote.

Brand strategy, at a place and time where there are more marketing tools, media options, technologies and measures than even before, does quite the opposite. It makes the world small again. Why? Because a brand’s value proposition is limited to the most essential things. What customers most care about and what the brand is absolutely good at. Care-abouts and Good-ats.

New products, line extensions, customer experience, marketing communications are all easier when following a brand strategy (1 claim, 3 proof planks). That white piece of paper a freelancers looks at when asked to create an ad or brochure is by many measures more quickly done and more powerful, when following a brand strategy. 

An investment in a brand strategy is an investment in business. Peace.

 

 

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