Monthly Archives: July 2022

Brand Strategy With A Limited Menu.


There is a West coast brand consultant I came across yesterday who does much the same things as I. From the screen grab below you will see the offerings are quite varied. There are 20 bullets. Very comprehensive. VEry impressive.


What’s The Idea? has 2 bullets. Only two offerings.  A brand brief and a one-page brand strategy. Those are my wares.

The brand brief is the tool I used to create the one-page brand strategy. The strategy contains a “Claim” and three “Proof Planks.”  Proof planks are discrete value headings, inherently tied to brand success. All interlock with the Claim. For a client in the commercial maintenance business we used the Claim the “Navy Seals of Commercial Maintenance.” The proof planks are “fast,” “fastidious” and “preemptive.”  Under each plank resides a list of individual proof points. An actual example or demonstration of value.  Not a platitude or generic, baseless claim, but a scientific, existential act, deed or accomplishment. People remember proof, they do not remember marketing fluff.

In brand strategy, proofs often become the subjects of ads, events or other content.

With all deference to other brand strategy consultants with menus, I give you a simple offering: an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging. I give you a brand brief and a brand strategy – the foundation for all things marketing. The strategy drives campaigns and voice and personality but does not dictate them.  That’s the job of the agency.

Simple is complex sometimes.



Think Before You Type. People Are Listening.


Any copywriter will tell you words are important.  Of course, they will.  But how many will dig deeply enough to find the right words that connect with the target. That demonstrate to a target they understand, sympathize, empathize and gets the reader?  Words can be found in a dictionary.  AI copy is not that far away, if it is not here already. Auto AdWords anyone? Good copy is personal.

I heard something on NPR this morning that struck me as a great example of words versus copy.  The story was about the shooting of Jayland Walker, a black man, in Akron, OH and this was the lede: “One in one thousand black men in America can expect to be shot by a police officer.” It’s a real smack in the face line of copy — but it must have been written by a white person because it is utterly untrue. I’d say nearly all black men in America worry about being shot by a police officer. Not one in a thousand. Parse the sentence and it may have been accurate — statistically one in one thousand black men may be shot by police. But that’s not what a black man is likely to hear.

We have to listen to our words. We have to try to contextualize our words.  That shit isn’t woke. It’s listening and thinking. Think before you type.

Rest In Peace Jayland Walker.