As a marketer, your goal is to win fans and keep them. You do that by making a difference. And by showing what moves you. What you stand for. But what is the best way to get to the core of your brand?
Brand positioning models
Brand positioning models come in many different forms, from the brand diamond, to the brand propeller, to the brand sun, etc. All magnificent one-page models that try to cover the essence of a brand. The truth about the brand, meant to be brief and guide colleagues and external contacts. Most are inspired by the brand key: the model developed by the Unilever Marketing Academy to consistently manage its brands internationally. Just one A4, containing all important information in nine clear bullet points. As a marketing strategist I see them in many shapes and forms: from boring Word documents to inspiring works of art. Accurately defining your brand is no easy task. It requires many decisions. Those decisions together define the strength of the brand.
Marketers and brand managers recognize the need for choosing a cutting-edge position in the market. Who is the brand? For which target group are you always the best choice? And of course, we can't live without a razor sharp consumer insight.
Stand for something as a brand
If you ask me, the brand key is hopelessly worn out. In times like these, where what used to be rattles, we need the courage to let go of the old and embrace the new. The brand key is not sufficient anymore because it doesn’t take into account the world around the brand. Both the internal organization as well as the external stakeholders need to receive adequate attention. Next to the functional and emotional advantages, consumers increasingly expect “like-mindedness” — choosing brands that reflect their values. A brand that doesn’t just stand for something, but also cares about something! And I’m not talking about a briefing that was sent to the advertising agency ordering it to “come up with an authentic campaign.”
I believe that brands should decide on how they can improve and enrich people’s lives, how they can expose and contribute to social issues. Current position models fall short in addressing this.
We need an inspirational model that helps marketers to proudly carry their profession and helps companies to create true value. Brands have the power to encourage people to make better, healthier and more sustainable choices every day. Brands can help to redefine our vision on quality of life. Brands can guide us, by hitting the sustainable route. Brands can enthusiasm people for this route. They can trigger positive change in the behavior of people.
The Terrace’s ‘Brand Purpose Model’
As a warm-up we start with the question: “What is the most beautiful thing you can do with your brand?” Bam! It provides food for thought and breaks with the laws of conventional marketing mechanisms. This is your chance to think something about something, to be opinioned. Stand for something. And that is exactly what customers expect from you. That’s how you create preference.
How it works
We work from the outside-in. Based on insights and needs from different angles, we determine the business value and the social impact that fits the brand. The target group and competitors follow next.
Of course, you have to know who you’re up against in the market. However, successful brands create a cooperative environment. Take for example cooperation in the supply chain: For marketers, the transition from a linear to a circular economy means that your products will come from two sides, from you and to you. That’s not something a company can manage on its own. Cooperation is crucially important. This includes your target group, who has become more conscious and can arrange more things themselves. Granting others something is the key.
Everyone knows it, character can’t be copied. Why do so few brands of today show what they really stand for? A strong brand purpose provides focus for successful collaboration and innovation.
What does your brand stand for?
This post first appeared on the Shared Value Initiative's blog on September 15, 2014.