Benefit Clusters. Or Proof.


There are a lot of smart people out there in brand planning. Many work at agencies, some as consultants.  I was reading a piece on LinkedIn this morning by a Toronto consultant dba Beloved-Brands. It discussed Benefit Clusters. Lots of good thinking and a number of similarities to my framework at What’s The Idea?.  

Brand consultants don’t want to make the process sounds too easy or it won’t sell. Big ass consultant companies, in fact, want to make an engagement seem complicated so they can extract good margins. Beloved-Brands, as evidenced through its website, PPT presentations and perhaps RFPs, treads lightly on the complicated/easy continuum. The promotion is nicely done and quite palatable. Where I take issue with their framework (and that of many others) is in the use of the word “benefits.” 

I don’t look at benefits. I spent my time instead looking for “proof.”  Benefits tend to be holographic. Mass produced. Proof on the other hand is tangible. Memorable. Articulate-able.  Proof accrues to benefits, but only as determined by the consumer. Don’t tell a person to be happy, make them happy.  

When push comes to shove any brand consultant worth its salt is going to do discovery and insights work that helps them build a case for “an idea that drives product, employees and customers toward sustainable and profitable commerce.” (Not a bad for an on-the-fly definition.)

When you are thinking about your brand, don’t play in benefit land. Dig for proof.