Yesterday I posted a definition of brand strategy: An organizing principle for product, experience and messaging. “Product” is the first component of brand strategy. It seems like a no-brainer but can be overlooked.
Most companies aren’t thinking about brand strategy when developing a new product. They are looking for differentiation and successful position in the marketplace. Or price advantage.
Brand strategists do most of their work on existing products; products with established manufacturing consistency and formulary, e.g. Coca-Cola, In-N-Out Burger. Where an organizing principle comes in handy is in cases of line extensions and reformulations. White Castle, wouldn’t want to create a cat head size burger, for instance.
Where an organizing principle for an existing company most comes in handy is in the service sector — where the product is people. Sure you can dress them up in a uniform but if you don’t organize how they work and deliver service, it’s harder to brand.
One of my favorite brand strategies in the service sector was for a commercial maintenance company. Their business is cleaning buildings at night and tending the grounds by day. Their brand staretgy became “The navy seals of commercial maintenance” (the claim), supported by “fast,” “fastidious” and “preemptive” (the proof planks). Think these employees didn’t know how to work? Or get a raise?