Aspiration is a word often used by brand planners and savvy brand managers — a word I’ve used many times. It has not taken over the brand planning oeuvre as have words like “transparency” and “authenticity” but it’s getting there.
When I use the word aspiration, it is usually in the context of creating brand planks. (Brand planks are the proofs that deliver consumer belief. Brand planks are groupings of demonstrations/evidence that convey a brand claim.)
Sometimes, I must make a decision to include a proof plank that is so overwhelmingly and inextricably desired by consumers it must be included. Even if the brand is not good at delivering it. This may seem disingenuous. It’s not. It’s aspirational. It becomes part of the brand build-out. It becomes an operational imperative.
Say you are math tutoring business and parents want better test grades for their kids. And your business is not built to codify better grade movement. Well, to compete you need to build that into your business. It’s a strategy. A means to an end. So you may not be perfect at it now but it must becomes an aspiration of the business. An active aspiration.
Another definition of aspiration derives from the word aspirate. Something we’ve become all to familiar with since Covid. It’s the sneezing of particulates from one location to the other. Chicago Med much? That aspiration is also critical to brand planning. We need to give consumers proofs they can share with fellow consumers. Then they become referrers.
As poor branding and, therefore, poorer advertising infects the web and other broadcast media, word-of-mouth is growing in importance. When someone says, Mario’s has the best Pizza in town and you ask why, people want a real answer? Proof gets aspirated.