product experience and messaging

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I’ve never used the word inchoate in a blog post before. Its definition is hard to remember, as is its pronunciation. I means “not fully formed” or “partially in existence.”  Okay, okay you know where this is going. Am I that transparent?

Most brands use inchoate brand strategy. Everyone says that have a brand strategy. Everyone believes in their logical minds, they have a thing called a brand — comprising a name, logo, and a Ramblin Jack Elliot value proposition. But were you to ask for an articulation of that strategy, in words, on a piece of paper, they’ll want to change the subject.  Ask marketing directors at service companies and B2B companies and it gets worse. You are likely to get push back about brands being for packaged goods. So “nope.”

With the disintermediation of sales and marketing, due in part to Google and the web, brands left unmanaged are brands without endurance.

Brand strategy sets direction for product, experience and messaging. It provides guardrails. Consumers understand brand strategy. They can articulate it, just like they can articulate words from an ad campaign. “We are farmers…” But only when clear. When managed.

Inchoate brand strategy is the enemy. Fix it.



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I have this concept for a quick serve restaurant where the menu is built around a specific price point. It would offer lots of food variety but everything is priced the same.  Let’s call the place $8.99s. $8.99s is not Ben Benson’s or Le Bernadin insofar as brand names go, but it is descriptive. (Think I borrowed the idea from Steve and Barry’s.)  I ran this notion by an investor/restaurateur friend and didn’t go for it. What ever. He also didn’t want to serve breakfast burritos at his NYC chain to open up a new day part. 

Fast forward to Blue Apron, a some-assembly-required meal delivery service and the static price idea has found a proof of concept. Blue Apron probably did it to improve simplicity. Their overhead, don’t forget, includes delivery.  But for $8.99s, the idea was to own a new class of value restaurants.

The idea to offer all meals for $8.99 is a strategy. Sure, the mission statement can include words like healthy and tasty. Smiley servers. Satisfaction guarantees. But driving to a price point, rather than say a cuisine, gives form to the “product, experience and message.” It’s a brand play in addition to a category play. A category busting idea.

It will happen. Peace.   




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