The Trinity Of Brand Strategy

Our experience teaching brand strategy and working with brand strategy clients tells us the answer to form a consistent brand image is to integrate much of the work into a coherent framework, grounded in common principles, terms and frameworks. The work begins with understanding the necessity of Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning.

Some elements of a brand are relatively constant while others need to adapt to a dynamic marketplace. As a result, Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning are all essential components of a comprehensive brand platform. Of the three components, the most constant is the Value Proposition. A Value Proposition articulates what is most enduring about a brand, its enduring benefit across all audiences. The statement speaks to higher outcomes and results the brand aspires to deliver in the future. Value Proposition is the brand’s North Star that guides everything in the product development roadmap.

Positioning is the most adaptable of the three elements. The concept of Positioning is perhaps the best understood element as well, as it specifies the target, frame of reference and key benefit.  Positioning defines the alternatives available to customers and the context in which the brand competes.

A powerful Positioning enables consistent, short-term communications, but is limited to just one or two ideas. Value Proposition does not speak to a higher order purpose or explain how a brand will connect emotionally with the values, culture and needs of its audience, both internal and external. The Brand Identity fills in these missing pieces. Brand Identity is more enduring than Positioning, and more adaptable and multi-faceted than Value Proposition. It defines how marketers desire customers and others to view the brand in the foreseeable future.

Together, Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning provide a complete brand platform that can serve as a roadmap for brand development over a 3-5 year period. When combined with clear business objectives, a careful brand audit, and a profound understanding of the target, these tools provide a powerful guide for brand development.

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The Role Of Digital

Digital media operates as part of a media portfolio to deliver high impact and specific targets. The high impact is a result of precise targeting and more engaging creative features. In general, digital media reaches the same people as TV. The majority of campaigns use digital to increase frequency, although some campaigns also use it to increase reach.
Maximize the effect of digital by focusing on the quality of creative and its integration into the overall media plan. Quality of creative should be considered when assigning roles, as brands must deliver relevant content that yields a much deeper and meaningful engagement to their customers. To accomplish this, brands must focus on both the content and the delivery to the masses in a variety of forms. This could include blogs, web and mobile video, Google Adword campaigns, and text ads. Connect with your customers to create a relationship, not just a shopping experience.
In 2013 the role of digital will grow dramatically marked by a near-doubling in smartphone ownership. Consumers are showing a growing appetite for mobile and social content and tablets are emerging as a respectful fourth screen. Mobile marketing has grown from an optional component in a company’s marketing mix to a vital role in a brand’s success.
Make the most of social media fan pages. The benefits of fan pages can be categorized into those which are considered basic or expected by visitors, and those which are differentiators. Expected content includes regular posts, trustworthy brand news, new product information and offers. Differentiator benefits include: variety, innovation, fun, interaction and community awareness.
Make websites more effective. Design custom sites with simplicity and ease of use as a primary consideration. Your most interesting and innovative site features should link directly to your intended brand message. Encourage content creativity, don’t settle for ordinary.
Make the best use of mobile. Content is king! Mobile is a behavior; it is not just a device. Improve the reach of mobile ads by integrating them into the wider campaign. When traffic is driven to mobile, the impact is strong.

Your Point of Difference

In today’s marketplace consumers are bombarded with an overwhelming number of companies endeavoring to provide similar products and services. It is no wonder people get confused. One of your goals in business should be to create a point of difference memorable and relevant enough to drive a wedge between your business and your competitors. The goal is to make choice easy for your customers. It is not good enough to be cheaper or better. You need to communicate why these differences better suit your customers and make your business unique. After all, how many ” me too ” businesses are successful anyway?
When Subway combined the benefits of the fast food process with the growing trend of healthy eating, it created a new point of difference. By positioning itself as a “fresh” fast food chain, the company became unique within its industry and a symbol of healthy fast food.
Your product or service is going to naturally have a target market based upon the solution it provides and those seeking its benefits. Whether your target market is small and concentrated or large and considered a mass market. the process of identifying your point of difference is still somewhat the same. Separating your key benefits and strengths and bundling them together to package a unique point of difference is typically the first step.
Having a point of difference that can’t be replicated by your competitors is very important for building a loyal client base. The power of idea protection combined with a smart brand strategy will ensure piece of mind for years to come.