In brand planning there are two schools of thought: Find the strength and highlight it, or find the weakness and negate it. At the root of this approach is optimism vs. pessimism. This is where quantitative research can play a role – testing which approach will have the biggest business impact. But few mid and small-sized companies are willing to spend that money. Large companies will, but tend not to want to do major brand planning overhauls unless under attack. Pessimism, then, often wins out.
Consumer marketers by nature are all about the positive. All about the user benefit and that’s a good thing. But if everyone, in every consumer category, is being positive: “be more productive,” “more individualized service,” “lower cost” then it’s hard to make an impression.
In B2B selling for the last 10 years, sales people trek annually to Arizona to chant “Find the pain point.” Understanding a company’s pain seems the pop marketing way for a B2B salesperson to connect in a meaningful way. And therein lies a marketing conundrum: consumer marketing labors around the positive while B2B favors the negative. Overstatements perhaps, but patterns. And brand planning is about patterns and breaking or disrupting them; in ways that serve all consumers — with actionable, scalable and repeatable ideas that sell. Watch the patterns. Peace.
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