There are a couple of places great brand ideas come from according to Robin Hafitz, CEO of Open Mind Strategies. The product or service is an obvious one. Predominant features or functions. Differences. Form factor, taste, speed, etc. Brand ideas may also reside in consumer need. The using consumer or influencing consumer. S/he wants to be liked, pretty, rich, fit, loved. And lastly, brand ideas may emanate from the category…and by category, for non-marketers, that means the business class of product or service, e.g. healthcare, soda, hospitality. An understanding of consumer’s expectations of a category (all competing products) sometimes can create the context for a good brand idea or position. For instance, banks only care about lending.
But a brand idea is best when it is singular. (“Tastes great, less filling” being an exception in the new lite beer category back in the ‘80s.) And when the idea is singular it should come from one of the three places mentioned above. That said, I dig hard to make sure the idea comes out of the product. Coke’s idea of refreshment is an interesting example. It is product based but also user experienced. Bonus. Coke’s current brand idea “happiness” is only the latter. And for me, one of the reasons Coke consumption has lessened. Though the advertising is often wonderful (Wieden and Kennedy.)
The word commodity is the enemy of good product and branding. So dig hard. Dig deep. And find an important difference. It will be worth it. Peace.