claims and proof

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Yesterday I wrote about the power of a clear brand idea. In closing I mentioned it only works if adhered to.  Smart people in the brand consulting business do training.  After the idea and architecture are sold to senior management, the consultant goes in and trains stakeholders in its proper use and care. A good practice.

I worked at McCann when they launched the new Lucent Technologies brand and the agency created a wonderful brand book that would live on office bookshelves for years, explaining the proper use and care of the brand — well after training faded. Training plus a brand book has a better chance of working. But there is an even better way.

Who is to be the steward of the brand idea? Usually it falls to the CMO and/or brand manager. But for most companies the task is back-burnered. They are too busy. So the position of “brand steward” needs to be created. A chief brand officer, if you will, but really only at a director level.  Just as legal counsel needs to keep the law in mind, a brand steward needs to own brand strategy adherence. Someone to ask “Does this work deliver our brand claim and proof array?”  

It’s not a hard job. It’s an important job. No one ever got sued for nonadherence to brand strategy. And that’s why there is so much sloppy brand craft.

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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The two most important elements in marketing are claim and proof.  It’s how you build businesses. Simplified and organized, this claim and proof approach is the foundation of branding.  One claim, three support or proof planks.

One of my kids just graduated college and is on the interview circuit. Loaded for bear, somewhat unfettered, he believes a willingness to work hard, learn and focus on achievement are the qualities that will land him a job. He’s not wrong. But these things sound like your average cover letter. When shared face-to-face over a desk, they are a bit numbing.  My suggestion was “don’t forget the proof.”  Follow up each claim with examples. 

This is what marketers often forget.  More often than not marketers and their agents remove proof so they can shoehorn in more claims. It’s claim-apalooza out there. All theater, exposition, and context – no proof.

When a job seeker organizes what s/he wants the interviewer to know about themselves and sells it with stories about real event it can be indelible.  Same with brand building. When the dude jumped out of the capsule up in space and free-fell to earth while drinking Red Bull (JKJK), he evinced an energy rush second to none. 10 million media impressions be damned. That was a powerful moment of proof. Peace.

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