There is this odd phenomenon that occurs when I present a branding brief to a client.
My brand brief contains a definition of the living, breathing target (not a demographic), an articulation of the target’s key care-about, the role of the product in delivering on that care-about. It covers the key market sensibility related to the product or category, and any enduring attitudes about the brand that might rise to the top. Not atypical stuff. Of course it’s what you do with all that stuff that makes a brand strategy great. When everything has been gathered and funneled down to a simple, no comma, no conjunction idea — when all the effluvium has been boiled away — what remains is a single declarative statement of brand intention. That is the moment of truth.
When I present that statement and I’ve my job right, the client lights up like a Christmas tree. We are brothers and sisters. We are from the same parents. We are friends. But then…then, the odd phenomenon begins to creeps in. You can feel a loving “but” coming on. This is when they say: “I absolutely love it, it’s perfect, but do we have you use the word_____. And it’s the pivotal word. That’s when I know I’ve got them.
Just like great creative, a great brand strategy has to take a client out of his/her comfort zone. It has to feel like work. It has to make clients and consumers emote. A brand strategy must aspire. Campaigns come and go, but a powerful brand strategy is indelible. Peace!