Monthly Archives: September 2023

A Powerful Brand Idea Is…


I wrote the brand strategy for a healthier-for-you cookie company, the brand claim for which was “Craft Cookies, Au Natural.”  At my practice a claim is supported by three proof planks. Those planks were: craft cookies are healthier, craft cookies offer complex flavors, and craft cookies are naturally moist.

In prep for this post, I reread the brief (from a while ago) and was happy to see it chock full of lovely, even poetic, marketing insights; all of which could launch scores of marketing efforts. (One such insight was “Mass-produced cookies use blanched, steamed, stripped, macerated, and filtered ingredients denuded of taste, texture and health properties. Mass-producers do this to save money and create efficient, flavored sugar sponges.”)

The hard part of brand planning is taking multiple insights noted in the brand brief and boiling them down into a claim (and then, proof planks).  Does “Craft Cookies, Au Natural” do that as a claim?  I think so. Might there be other ways to reflect a brand value prop for this brand? Sure.

The thing about brand claims, at least at What’s The Idea?, is they need to be memorable. Pithy. Tagline-like. In effect, they become the tagline for the brand until the ad agency creates a campaign for public messaging that trumps it. I often tell clients and prospects campaigns come and go, a powerful brand idea is indelible. Search for one.




Don’t Speak in Branding Tongues.


Tons of people in marketing will tell you what a brand is.  Right or wrong they can be reasonably articulate.  Few though, have a clean answer for what brand strategy is.  Most practitioners get all caught up in their underwear and speak in branding tongues, using words like story, personality, voice and mission.  

Brand strategy at What’s The Idea? is explained as “An organizing principle.”  What’s an organizing principle?  It’s a set of parameters for activity. It’s governance for marketing – all 4 Ps. It’s a way to decide if you are on or off your business-winning objective.

By calling it an organizing principle it seems little less dictatorial, allowing room for experimentation. Besetting an ad agency with (creative) rules makes them see red. No rules, no rules! But an organizing principle seems almost helpful.

So, what are we organizing?  The rest of the definition goes “an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”  In this approach, brand strategy informs the product itself. Secondly, it informs the experience, i.e., packaging, out-of-box, retail, web navigation and customer care. Lastly, it directs messaging; the place most marketers get it wrong. In fact, well enculturated into an organization brand strategy becomes an employee manual…without the table of contents. 

In summary, brand strategy is the epicenter of not just branding but marketing. Says the man with the brand strategy business.

For examples of brand strategies of real customer businesses, write Steve at WhatsTheIdea.