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A brand strategy brief, at its very best, is a story. A story with beginning, middle and end. Like good entertainment it contains a problem, solution(s), tension and resolution. Most importantly, it needs to appeal to the reader/viewer (aka the consumer) in order to take hold.

I write brand briefs for a living.  In each and every one, the story has to flow.  If the flow is interrupted by some structural anomaly, the brief will confuse.  The money part of the brief is the finish — the claim and proof array. (Once claim, three proof planks.)  It is the organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.  If the claim does not fit the rest of the story like a glove, something is wrong with the story.

The brand brief story is written for the brand marketing lead. Once the claim and proof array are approved, and immutable, the brief is just a tool for brand managers and agents. Then the storytelling or as Co:Collective calls it Story Doing, is in the hands of the marketing team and creative people. And I am on the my next assignment.

In branding the brand brief is the greatest story ever told.



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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!




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If you were to do a Google search of all the copy written by professional copywriters, freelancers, content marketing peeps and business owners – and I mean all the copy, from websites to brochures, to press releases, etc. – I bet there would be about 40 benefit/feature words that would make up 10% of the entire count. Words like “innovative,” “best,” “superior service,” “new” and “% off.” These words as toxic. Overused and over promised, they tend to fall on deaf consumer ears. They inure consumers to other important copy that actually tell a story; the good words that convey a sense of identity and differentiation.

Play copy editor for a moment. Read you work, circle the words that sounds like copy — that sound like common promise – and remove them.  See what you have. Toxic words when used in a story are more palatable. But in copy or selling – they shut down our brains. This is why storytelling or, as Co:Collective’s Ty Montague puts it, “story doing” is the haps these days.

Just as playing a favorite song too many times or eating too much strawberry shortcake in one sitting can burn a person out, use of toxic copy words must be carefully watched. Peace.


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