Proof Or Truth.

    Brand Value Triad.

    Proof Well Told Part 2.

    proof planks

    Proof Book.


    A long time ago, during my formative years as a brand planner I worked as an advertising account person on AT&T Business Communications Services. The portion of the business I handled, following a large management consulting reorg of the business, was emerging services. That meant non-phone services; the precursor to internet and cloud offerings.

    The business was parsed into 3 brand planks: reliability, competitive price (within 10% of MCI), and emerging services designed to increase business performance. We called the latter the Opportunity Zone.

    The total ad budget at the time was about $125 million and at the beginning of the program we had no real map as to how to win our unfair share of the market. Someone smart in the AT&T marketing department suggested putting together a 3-ring binder complete with demonstrations of reliability, price programs and innovations to use when designing ads.

    Let’s call that the Proof Book.

    Readers of What’s The Idea? know that proof is a fundamental brand building strategy. Brand claims require proof.  Every brand strategy I present has a digest of proof points undergirding the claim. Even as a one-sheeter, my brand strategies are mini proof books.

    I encourage every company looking to build a brand to look at your proofs of value and try to array them into three distinct and cohesive areas. Much the way AT&T did. You will be amazed by what you see.  For examples of real proof arrays, please write Steve@WhatsTheIdea.



    Brand Strategy Built On Quicksand.


    Brand strategy frameworks are a dime a dozen.  All of them are right…to a degree.  This framework, I was told, is from Interbrand.

    The brand proposition at the bottom (in red) is also known as the brand idea or claim. As for the stuff above the claim, there’s nothing wrong there — it’s typical brief fodder.  

    Interbrand attempts to codify brand strategy across the enterprise, but each office does have some leeway as to its approach. Deviations are allowed because not every brand is in the same place in its lifecycle. Not all targets are the same. Channels are different.  There are a multitude of reasons to tweak a framework, not the least of which is to sell work. I suspect this is the case at many brand consultancies. 

    This brand placemat or one-pager is just too freakin’ broad. The proposition, as it should be, is the operative strategy. But there is just so much other stuff going on. 

    At What’s The Idea? the framework is brain dead simple. And it is the same for every client. It comprises one claim, three proof planks. A claim is a claim.  Where we differ is that my feeder boxes aren’t values and personality, positions and drivers — they’re proof arrays.  Organized reasons to remember the claim. Reasons to believe. Reasons to argue. Proof creates muscle memory for consumers.

    Leave the values/personality/target insights to the art directors and writers. Brand building is an upstream practice that precedes the build out.  If your brand strategy isn’t built upon proof, you are playing in quicksand.