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Smart advertising and branding make positive impressions on consumers by design. Impressions that predispose people to purchase.

One of the cornerstones of the What’s The Idea? brand planning rigor is “proof.”  The most powerful form of proof is the demonstration.  As a kid growing up one of the better demonstration examples was for Crazy Glue where a construction worker using his arms to hold his helmet to his head was lifted off the ground by a beam Crazy Glued to the helmet.  

Here’s a modern day proof demonstration that may actually change U.S. governance.  In a tight political race in Missouri, democrat Jason Kander is facing entrenched republican Roy Blunt. It’s a pivotal race that may alter the current senate majority. In the spot Mr. Kander, a veteran, tells the camera how Mr. Blunt questions his support of gun rights. He explains, as do most dems, that he’s not against guns, just against loose regulation. If you close your eyes and it could be an argument heard in any state — or even the presidential election. What makes the oratory unique, however, is that Mr. Kander is delivering his lines while assembling an AK-47 assault rifle. Blindfolded. Try this Mr. Blunt, says Kander.

The race has turned in favor of Mr. Kander. The ad is the reason. Well thought out demonstrations (of proof) are memorable, extensible and can change opinions. Use them.





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The boil down is what happens in my brand planning rigor after I feel I’ve collected enough data and information. Lately, I’ve been using Microsoft OneNote, to capture all the market info and links  — a cool tool. When the boil down begins I am looking for proof and patterns.

I was reading an Op-Ed piece about Egypt yesterday and came across two pieces of proof that set me off onto insights – which lead to strategy. These two proofs were the increase in sale of police dogs to citizens and skyrocketing tour guide unemployment.   Lawlessness and fear emerge as problematic outcomes of the unrest in Egypt. Proof informing strategy.

Good planners look to brand strategy that offers both claim and proof.  Too much strategy today is all claim, little proof. Too much marketing, the same. And 90% of advertising is all claim, no proof. Ground up brand planning starts with collection of product strengths, consumer insights, competitive pressures, cultural biases and proclivities, and a deep search for insights and proof. Find the right proof and you are free to move about the brand craft. Peace.

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And shush its mass communications. At least until it knows the extent of the problems.  They can’t offer heartfelt apologies and tell us they’re working “day and night” to fix things and each day break a new recall story.  Yesterday, after weeks of apologies (months if you include the Prius floor mats) Corolla came under suspicion.

Toyota needs to go dark with its advertising and put that money into data mining, engineering analysis, added shifts and most importantly finding and identifying “proof” they’re doing something.  Proof is good. Talk is bad.  Proof might be a visual image or story consumers can relate to. Something that one consumer can tell another proving Toyota is doing something dramatic.  (Repairing “up to 50,000 cars a day” is in the neighborhood, but  no Rosie the Riveter.)

When AT&T was about to get its lunch eaten by MCI because the government legislated 800 numbers could be moved from carrier to carrier, Joe Nacchio emptied AT&T’s corporate building putting anyone in a suit or skirt on the street calling on customers. AT&T didn’t lose share.  He went all Rose the Riveter on them.

Newspaper apology notes? That’s grade school PR stuff.

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