Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brand Positioning - have you got all the bits in place?

I'm fascinated by brands and the development and growth of great brands. Some brands develop fast and become huge success stories almost overnight, others grow slowly and their stature increase over time. And there are strong brands which are multi-fasceted and complex, and others are incredibly simple yet very powerful. Some brands are built on the essence of its physical founder... others are mere creations. Isn't brand development fascinating?

There are a number of things that a brand strategist and developer needs to have in place in order to communicate the brand and to make it clear to everyone - your target group, your agencies, your colleagues... You certainly want to be crystal clear when you communicate what your brand is all about and what it stands for. In order to provide that sense of clarity one needs to have a few basics in place. Some companies spend incredible effort, research and consultancy time on getting these bits in place. Others write their brand propositions in a few hours. It's up to you how much effort you want to spend on this exercise. The key thing is to get it right i.e. to make your proposition compelling and crystal clear!

The basic bits that you need to have in place to explain your brand proposition clearly are:
Market space - A clear view of the market space that you are targeting with your brand
Target group - A clear, in-depth picture of your target group

Insight - A crystal clear understanding of the target group insight or need that your brand is built upon. If you don't know this you don't know why your brand is relevant for your target group (and why and for whom it isn't relevant) so this is important!
Brand benefit/s - The emotional and/or functional benefits that your brand delivers to your target group
Brand personality - Your brand personified... And this is there to explain different physical and mental dimensions of your brand, what your brand would really be like if it was a person
Brand values - Hmm, one can say that the brand values explain what lies at the core of your brand. The values explain what your brand stands for in the bigger picture (which in turn has a direct impact on the everyday actions of your brand)
Brand essence - A short brand statement that summarises your brand in a few words or one short sentence.

Oups, that was a lot of basics and I am pretty sure that I've forgotten a few things. So, don't you all agree that it sounds so easy! However, believe me, to create a proposition that is crystal clear throughout requires both some serious thinking effort and high energy. I have worked on quite a few brand development projects myself - and in diverse industries such as alcoholic drinks, yogurt and milk, petrol, soft drinks, grocery stores, pharmaceuticals, financial services and more. Believe me, some projects were surely more successful than others at creating strong branded proposition. What I think made those projects more successful and their outcome much stronger were the passion and hard work by the brand team, striking the right balance between strategy and creativity and last but not least, a respect for the consumer and profound consumer insight.

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