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Lots of people talk about company culture. Like it’s a good thing. I’m not so sure. Culture, of course, is a good thing. But company culture, in and of itself, can be limiting. When you put a bunch of likeminds in a room the tendency is to swim together. Nothing wrong with a little corporate water ballet, but I’m one that likes things a tad messy — where ideas and ideals are challenged. That’s how innovation happens.
So what’s better than corporate culture? I’m sure you saw this one coming: brand strategy. That so-called “organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”
When a commercial maintenance company uses the brand claim “Navy Seals of Commercial Maintenance,” supported by brand planks “fast, fastidious and preemptive,” company employees are able to build a certain, almost predicable value. Unimpeded by a set of cultural beliefs. Brand strategy is freeing not limiting.
It’s okay to study corporate culture but it’s way more productive to study and set brand strategy.
Tags: an organizing principle for product experience and messaging, brand claim, Brand Strategy, brand strategy examples, brans strategy versus corporate culture, claim and proof, Corporate culture, likeminds, navy seals of commercial maintenance, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Storytelling is big in marketing today. One flavor espoused by Co-Collective CEO Ty Montague is called Story Doing, a smart improvement. I’m a fan-boy of doing rather than telling.
HOWEVER. And with me there is always a however when it comes to brand. However, a word that trumps “story” is “strategy.” Using Mr. Montague’s construct then, a more active and effective form of brand building is Strategy Doing…inelegant though it may sound. Strategy Doing is the fastest way to build brands.
I love a good story. It can be captivating. And memorable. But unless the story adds value to the brand, unless it moves the ball farther upfield with regard to the brand claim and proof array, it may no more helpful than the Three Little Pigs.
Story telling good. Story doing, better. Strategy Doing, bestestest!
Tags: claim and proof, claim and proof array, Co:Collective, Story doing, story telling in branding, storytelling in marketing, three litt;le pigs, Ty Montague, whats the idea, whatstheidea
There are many definitions of brand strategy. Most hard to understand. And for businesses whose sole purpose is clarity of message, you would think brand strategy definitions would be easy.
Here’s mine: “An organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”
What does an organizing principle look like in words? (Brand strategy is inanimate.) Well, it is a “claim and proof” array. A single claim about brand superiority or value, supported by 3 proof planks. Proof planks are evidence of the claim, grouped into homogenous clusters. One of my favorite brand claims for a small commercial cleaning and maintenance company is “The Navy Seals of Commercial Maintenance.” The proof planks are: “Fast,” “Fastidious” and “Preemptive.” Put these words into a single sentence and you have a clean, articulate brand strategy. You are organized to market. You are organized to productize. You can build your business experience, communications and website.
Okay other businesses out there — care to share your brand strategies in one sentence?
Tags: and organizing principle for product, brand strategy definition, claim and proof, definition of brand strategy, experience and messaging, one claim three proof planks, the navy seals of commercial maintenance, whats the idea, whatstheidea
There are some in the advertising business who believe brand strategy is limiting. They use pejorative terms for brand strategists like “brand police.” (Not that there’s anything pejorative about police.) When a brand strategy is seen as confining, most often by creative people at agencies, the belief is that brand strategists are conditioned to say “no.” And it’s true to a degree; good brand manager wants deposits in the brand bank.
Brand strategy needs to be shared with creative teams and content builders well before the creative process begins. Not on the eve of the job. Creators need to understand the claim and proof array that is brand strategy, then they need to sleep on it and live with it. Brand strategy done right is like fly paper. It captures ideas over time. There is nothing more freeing when ideating than having an articulatable goal. A goal beyond simple engagement and recall.
If you have a creative team working on an assignment, brief them early. Engage them over time. Let the strategy percolate. Then set them free on an assignment. You’ll up your potential for “yes.”
Tags: brand strategy definition, claim and proof, claim and proof array, fly paper brand strategy, fly paper strategy, flypaper brand strategy, Flypaper strategy, whats the idea, whatstheidea
As a person in the brand building business, outsourcing has never been a favorite business practice. Companies that have a powerful brand strategy can only make it more so by letting that strategy infuse throughout every department, touching every function. That said, I do see how agile companies, especially startups and fast growers, can benefit by keeping their eyes on the prize
It is for this reason that I have been a fan of TriNet, a proud and accomplished provider of administrative and HR function as an outsourced offering. These guys do chicken right.
Except for advertising.
This weekend they broke a big ad in The New York Times. “Incredible starts here” is the new company tagline. The headline spans 2-pages in the form of a neon sign spelling the word “incredible.” The copy offers time tested generic claims such as “tailor the right solution that fits your industry needs” and lots of other junior copywriter text.
This is an example of a smart company making ads sans brand strategy. Ads without brand strategy are dangerous. Incredible this effort isn’t.
Quick, close your eyes and think of incredible companies. Who comes to mind? Apple? Google? Claim and proof build brands. Where’s the proof?
Tags: apple, Brand Strategy, claim and proof, google, the new york times, trinet, trinet advertising, whats the idea, whatstheidea
I’m not much of a cook but I’m certainly a student. What’s The Idea? uses a number of cooking metaphors in its daily operation. Many of the tenets of good cooking are also valuable in brand strategy. One such tenet is “Don’t use too many ingredients.” The more ingredients used, the more likely the main component of the dish becomes obscured.
My uncle Carl taught me the best baked clams are the ones with the least amount of flavor enhancers. See the clam. The same for chicken parmesan. No sauce, just a brilliant tomato slice or two atop the golden brown cutlet.
Brand strategy development is about evaluating customer care-abouts and brand good-ats and selecting only the top three — the three with the most flavor (or most complementary flavors). Most importantly, these three brand planks must support the brand claim, or, following the metaphor, the main protein.
Brand strategy is best served with one claim and three proof planks. It’s not over-complicated. It’s easy on the senses. And the consumer palate is very understanding.
Leave Michelin stars for the true chefs. Complexity in brand strategy rarely works.
Tags: brand good-ats, Brand Strategy, brand strategy ingredients, brand strategy sans serif, claim and proof, claim and proof in brand strategy, complexity in brand strategy doesn’t work, Customer care-abouts, uncle carl, whats the idea, whatstheidea
The most powerful cognitive trait on the planet is learning. Animal’s learn where to feed. Insects learn how to procreate. Children learn to associate pain with danger. Learning is everywhere. Except in brand strategy.
At What’s the Idea? learning is a fundie. It has been a peeve of mine for years that most advertising is about claim. Our cereal is tasty. Our bank service is excellent. Our insurance is 15% cheaper. The claims are selling advantages, but not learning. Learning requires that the brain processes something and comes to a conclusion. Learning takes up new space in the mind.
In grammar school students are more likely to remember something they process and logically understand, rather than something experienced through rote recitation. That’s why the What’s The Idea? brand strategy framework relies on proof planks. Proof of claim allows the brain to learn. It created critical thinking around a brand claim. It’s evidentiary.
Branding lasts when there is constant learning. When learning is refreshed. It’s a challenge, I know. But worth it.
Tags: brand plank, brand strategy claim and proof in branding, claim and proof, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Brand planning is not just about words on a paper. Colors on a palette. Planks and buckets and values. Or even taglines…and I’m a big fan of taglines. (If you’re spending marketing dollars which don’t prove your tagline, you’re “off piste,” as I like to meme.)
Brand strategy is integral to marketing. As such, all brand planners are marketers. As marketers we need to be look beyond the dashboard. Look at what’s next. The earth is not flat.
My night job is to wake up with new product ideas. Ideas that deliver on the brand strategy (one claim, three proof planks). If in consumables, I’m dreaming about making packaging more planet friendly. I was watching a YouTube video yesterday about shampoo bars that sell sans plastic bottle and cap. Come se Genius??
The growth of innovation labs, incubators and new product teams is a big thing today. In my humble if jaded opinion, no one is better able to crack an innovation opportunity than a brand planner – the person responsible for the care and feeding of the brand claim.
Tags: 1 claim 3 proof planks, beyond the dashboard, beyond the marketing dashboard, brand claim, brand memes, claim and proof, off piste marketing, off-piste, off-piste branding, one claim three proof planks, shampoo bars, whats the idea, whatstheidea, youtube"
Here’s an exercise for brand planners.
I read this morning that when president Richard Nixon prepared for a summit in China to meet Mao Zedong, he created a checklist. What do we want? What does China want? And what do we both want? Each question had three answers.
Brand planners should ask themselves the same questions only with a slight modification at the end. What does the company want? What do the consumers want? And what does the brand want? The brand’s desires may not align with that of the company and could be a healthy source of exploratory tension.
The What’s The Idea? the brand strategy process plumbs consumer “care-abouts” and brand “good-ats.” The nexus of these qualities decides the brand claim and proof planks. But with the tripartite “What want?” approach, it may make the planner look at a new dimension. May.
Might be worth a try.
Tags: Brand claim and proof planks, brand good-ats, Brand Strategy, brand strategy rigor, care-abouts, care-abouts and good-ats, claim and proof, Consumer care-abouts, exercise for brand planners, good ats, good-ats and care-abouts, mao zedong, richard nixon, whats the idea, whatstheidea
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 Steve@whatstheidea.com
Tags: brand, brand claim and proof, Brand Strategy, Brands, claim and proof, Kylie jenner, kylie jenner cosmetics, pent up demand, snapchat, steve@whatstheidea, email@example.com, whats the idea, whatstheidea