Proof Clusters.

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You are never too old to learn new tricks.  Coming out of the advertising business as someone who wrote a lot of advertising creative briefs (strategy instructions for art directors/copywriters), I began my brand strategy business by writing brand briefs. The brief I used, and still use, answers a serial set of questions (a template, if you will) designed to uncover brand strengths, deficiencies, target care-abouts, market observations, etc.; all of which pointed toward a brand claim or promise. (“Coke is refreshment,” for instance.) The more discovery I did on the brand (interviews and research), the easier it was to fill in the template.

But the serial questions had to tell a story. One with a beginning, middle and end. And if the pieces or segues didn’t fit perfectly it was problematic. Clunky.

Well, the new trick has to do a new brand strategy framework I call Claim and Proof. After discovery, with all information and data gathered, I now search for what I call proofs.  Evidence of value or superiority. Not marketing words like quality or service, but real acts, deeds, procedures or product spec.

Under closer inspection, some of these proofs are likely to cluster. When key clusters of like-values emerge, they begin to tell a story. And from the proof clusters and my notes I can then walk back a brand claim. My brand strategy framework is constructed with one claim and three proof planks.

I still write brand briefs for clients who want the full-monty, but they are easier to write when the framework is complete.

Peace.