Brand marketing takes time and commitment to get it right – so Just Do It – right? And just like exercise, in the long run, the payoff can be fantastic.
Take a look at Nike’s – Just Do It. I use that tag line to motivate myself into working out. It pushes me to “Just ‘go exercise even when I don’t want to’ Do It”. I want that brand promise of being fit. When I buy workout shoes, they’re Nikes. I know that I’m buying comfort and quality; it’s that reliability factor of knowing what I’m getting for my money that matters. However, what I really want is to look sexy in my fit body.
So where did ‘Just Do It’ come from? Brand marketing professionals at Nike exercised a brand marketing process. They defined the Nike value proposition, the brand positioning statement that led to the brand promise – and finally the brand message and tag line – Just Do It.
Start by doing your homework
If you’ve created brand architecture, you’ve already listed your brands features and benefits and how each brand (or product) differs in the brand family. This next step is collecting all information and data, internally and externally, that will serve as the foundation for the remaining steps involved in brand marketing. This takes time, but as with exercise – it’s worth it. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Analyze the competitive landscape
- Assess your critical capabilities, resources, and assets
- Review strategic business, marketing, and sales plans
- Interview & survey internal and external stakeholders, employees, clients, prospects, and analysts
- Determine strengths and weaknesses
- Identify relevant economic and industry trends
- Conduct a brand communication audit and review the corporate identity practices
- Conduct a broad assessment of its reputation
This homework is essential. The information gathered and assimilated, will be the cornerstone for the value proposition, brand positioning, brand promise, messaging and strategy.
What’s next – Value Proposition
By definition, a value proposition is a promise of value your brand is expected to deliver – it’s the primary reason a prospect will buy from you. It’s both what you promise and what they think you’ve promised as your deal with the customer.
A value proposition is a written statement which:
- Explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy)
- Delivers specific benefits (quantified value)
- Tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation)
Meclabs Institute has developed a useful Value-Proposition Worksheet to guide the process.
Once you’ve completed the worksheet, make sure your statement can answer the following questions:
- Is it easy to understand?
- Does it communicate the concrete results a customer will get from purchasing and using your products or services?
- Does it state how it’s different or better than the competition?
- Does it avoid hype (‘amazing miracle product’), superlatives (‘best’) and business jargon (‘value-added interactions’)?
- Can it be read and understood in about 5 seconds?
Now, put your value proposition on the home page of your website. This is what sets you apart from the competition and gives your brand its worth.
Brand Position – In the Mind
Positioning is derived from the value proposition. It’s the way you choose to communicate your differentiated promise to customers.
Brand positioning is the mental space a brand occupies in the mind of the customer. It’s the customers’ perceptions based on a collective knowledge of the particular brand, product or service in comparison to their perceptions of the competition.
A brand positioning statement is the formal one or two sentence description that communicates the brand’s unique value to your customer in relation to the competition. This statement should create an idea among the target market of what a service or product stands for. The idea is positioned by qualities such as cost, quality, or target market. The brand position needs to be consistent throughout your marketing efforts to avoid customer confusion.
As a guideline for a good positioning statement, Cornell University recommends these six keys:
- It’s simple, memorable, and tailored to the target market.
- It provides an unmistakable and easily understood picture of your brand that differentiates it from your competitors.
- It’s credible, and your brand can deliver on its promise.
- Your brand can be the sole occupier of this particular position in the market. ?You can “own” it.
- It helps you evaluate whether or not marketing decisions are consistent with and supportive of your brand.
- It leaves room for growth.
Geoffrey Moore, in Crossing the Chasm, crafted a formula for writing a positioning statement containing the following: For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity) the (brand’s name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefit; also called a compelling reason to believe). Unlike (the primary competition), our product (statement of primary differentiation).
A brand position is for internal use only. It is not the brand’s tagline. However, it is the directive in crafting the brand promise, tagline and subsequent messages marketing will use to target the customer.
The next step is the brand promise. The promise is the execution of the brand position as it addresses customers’ expectations about a product or service. This is the promise the brand delivers to the customer. These insights or promises can be turned into the tagline and messaging. By positioning your brand effectively, there will be no confusion among your target customers regarding what you stand for. By delivering on your brand promise, you will achieve long-term customer satisfaction.
Keys to Messaging
When developing your tagline andmessaging, the secret ingredient is review your brand from three different perspectives: the customer’s, the internal perspective, and the marketplace.
The Customer Perspective
What does the customer care about, want and need. What is keeping the customer up at night and how can your brand/product solve his problems. The brand message needs to get inside the mind of your customer.
Personally, I believe the customer’s point of pain is the critical factor. What unique solution will your brand, product or service offer that will solve his pain? This is key.
The Internal Perspective
Look at your brand from the inside out. What do your sales reps find really resonates during the sales process? What is the vision for your brand? Where do you see your brand going over the next year? The next five years? What’s unique about your product or service? Where do you create value?
Consider the Marketplace
Only one brand can own a position. How do your competitors position themselves? Look at their tag lines. Read the “about us” copy on their websites. You want to make sure your value and promise to the customer remains distinct. You don’t want your buyers confusing your brand with a competitor’s just because your value propositions are too similar.
Now Look at all Three to Create the Message.
Once you have a solid understanding of each of these three points, you can start building your actual messaging framework by triangulation. The idea of triangulation is that you can figure out a location if you know its distance relative to three distinct points. The intersection of the customer, internal and marketplace perspectives identifies your promise; this is where your messages and tagline will be derived.
There are subtle differences between the value proposition, the brand position, the brand promise and the messaging, yet clarifying each and defining how each applies to your brand is the difference between a lagging brand and a successful brand. You know what that means to your bottom line – sales.
Look at Nike – the largest seller of athletic footwear in the world – they followed the brand marketing plan to Just Do It – and it worked.
Resources: Conversionxl, Useful Value Proposition Examples (and How to Create a Good One)/ Meclabs Institute, Marketing Experiments-Value-Prop-Worksheet/eCornell.com, How To Write Market Positioning Statements/Cultbranding, Create Strong Brand Positioning Strategy/Branding Strategy Insider/Branding Business