Branding and the Is-Does.


When I say I like Good and Plenty, it really means I like licorice. When I say I like Budweiser, it means I like beer. Granted there are lots of flavors of licorice and beer but the point is one doesn’t have an innate, built-in need for brands. (I said innate.) If I like Maytag, it means I like clean clothes. The iPhone? Staying in touch…with everything.

Some of us in marketing forget this, spending too much time on a distended version of the brand story. (“We must break though the clutter!”)  But it is a product we are selling, not the story.

The way out this trap is by focusing on a product’s Is-Does: what a brand Is and what a brand Does. I came upon this notion when reading some branding literature while at McCann-Erickson. Eric Einhorn created a document exploring what a brand is and what it means. I rolled the “means” over on its side to make it more concrete. 

For me the pursuit of the Is-Does became particularly necessary when planning in the tech sector where chief technologists have a hard time explaining their products in less than 50 words. Was Apple’s iPhone really a phone? For most marketers and planners, the heavy lifting is in the Does, but even here one can go off track. Does Coke really provide happiness (today’s strategy) or Does it provide refreshment ( real strategy).  Find the right Is-Does and you tell better stories, create more loyalty, and sell more shtuff. Peace!