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Only a fool would start writing a brand concept statement without dong the necessary homework. If you start with a blank piece of paper, you will likely end up with a random chance at success.The brand concept combines the brand positioning statement work, including consumer insights, benefits and support points, and the work from your big idea.

How to write a brand concept

Be realistic about the brand concept you build. Too many marketers try to jam everything into the brand concept, trying to “pass the test” but then after they get a winning score, they realize that they can’t execute the brand concept that just won.  You should think of your brand concept as you would a 30 second TV ad or a digital billboard.

Do your homework of your Brand Positioning Statement

Most of the meat of a good concept comes from the work you do with a positioning statement. Make sure you go deep to understand who you are selling to and what you are selling. Brand Positioning Statements provide the most useful function of taking everything you know about your brand, everything that could be said about the consumer and making choices to pick one target that you’ll serve and one brand promise you will stand behind. A best in class positioning statement has four key elements:

      • Target Market (1)
      • Definition of the market you play in (2)
      • Brand Promise (emotional or rational benefit) (3)
      • The Reason to Believe (RTB) the brand promise (4)

The classic way to write a Brand Positioning Statement is to take the elements above and frame them into the following: For the target market (1) Brand X plays in the market (2) and it gives the main benefit (3). That’s because of the following reasons to believe (4).

How to write a brand concept statement brand positioning target market marketing training

 

The ideal positioning has a tightly defined target based on demographics and psychographics as well as moments in life they may be going through relative to your brand. There should be a brand promise that has a balance of emotional and rational benefits and then supporting reasons to believe (RTBs) that back up the main promise. Don’t just throw out random claims you have but make sure the RTB’s fill in any gaps in the promise.

Great concept statements connect quickly,  based a real consumer insight

While a concept doesn’t directly call out the target, the best way to connect quickly with the target is to lead off with a really impactful insight or problem they might be facing, that lets them know you get them. I always end up with debate over people of what an insight is. How to write a brand concept statement brand positioning target market marketing trainingToo many people think data, trends and facts are insights. Facts are merely on the surface—so they miss out on the depth–you need to bring those facts to life by going below the surface and transforming the facts into insights.

To demonstrate knowledge of that target, defining consumer insights help to crystallize and bring to life the consumer you are targeting. The dictionary definition of the word Insight is “seeing below the surface”. When insight is done right, it is what first connects us to the brand, because we see ourselves in the story. Insight is not something that consumers didn’t know before. It’s not data or fact about your brand that you want to tell. That would be knowledge not insight.

Insight is something that everyone already knows and comes to life when it’s told in such a captivating way that makes consumers stop and say “hmm, I thought I was the only who felt like that”.  That’s why we laugh when we see insight projected with humor, why we get goose bumps when insight is projected with inspiration and why we cry when the insight comes alive through real-life drama.

Added to the insight, a concept can really come to life when you lead off with the consumer’s enemy.  Beloved Brands help consumers counter a problem in their life. Who is the Enemy of your consumer? Picking the enemy gives your brand focus and another way of bringing insight into your brand positioning.

Focus on a big idea that summarizes the brand promise 

This is how the positioning tool should lead you to a brand positioning statement that takes into account the target, category, benefit and support points.

How to write a brand concept statement brand positioning target market marketing training

For more information on Brand Positioning statements, follow this step by step process in this link: How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement

Once you have a brand positioning statement, you need to figure your brand’s big idea. There is value in turning your positioning into a 7 second pitch. What is your “SHOUT FROM THE MOUNTAIN”.  It forces you to want to scream just ONE THING about your brand—keep it simple. You can’t scream a long sentence.

brand positioning big idea

Turning the positioning statement into a brand concept

Too many brand leaders write elaborate concepts that include everything. In reality, you won’t be able to execute everything.  There’s no value in getting a concept to pass a test and then be unable to execute:  narrow it down to one simple benefit and 2 RTBs.(reasons to believe) Looking at the example below, taking the information from the concept from above using Gray’s Cookies, here’s how to map it into a concept.

How to write a brand concept statement brand positioning target market marketing training

  • The main headline should capture the Big Idea of your brand. The headline will be the first thing consumers see, influencing how they will engage with the concept.
  • Start every concept with a consumer insight (connection point) or consumer enemy (pain point). If you can captivate the consumer to make them stop and think, “That’s exactly how I feel,” they will be more engaged with your concept. The enemy or insight must set up the brand promise.
  • The promise statement must bring the main benefit to life, with a balance of emotional and functional benefits. For Gray’s, I combined the ‘great taste’ functional benefit and ‘stay in control’ emotional benefit.
  • Support points should close off any gaps consumers may have after reading the main benefit. An emotional benefit may require functional support to cover off any doubt created in the consumers mind.
  • Complete the concept with a motivating call-to-action to prompt the consumer’s purchase intent which is a major part of concept testing.
  • Adding a supporting visual that fits is optional

Anything more than this, you are just cheating yourself. Yes, you might have a better score, but you might not be able to execute it in the market. If you haven’t narrowed down your claims or RTB’s, maybe you need a claim sorting research before you get into the concept testing.

Brand Concept Examples

You can build a brand concept for any type of brand. Here’s an example of a B2B brand concept.

brand concept

The same brand concept model also works for healthcare brands

brand concept

It can work for build a brand concept for a tech brand:

brand concept

And finally, it can work for building a brand concept for a service oriented business as well.

brand concept

 

While this helps with HOW to write a concept, ask Beloved Brands how we can help really bring the concepts to life with a workshop with your team as well as writing of the final concept options.  We promise to bring magic to the concept which will help get you into the right positioning.

For a presentation on how to write a Positioning Statement, follow:

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising. We can customize a program that is right for you or your team. We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype. Ask us how we can help you.

 

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

Beloved Brands Graham Robertson

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Graham Robertson

Graham spent 20 years in Brand Management leading some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, General Mills and Coke, rising up to VP Marketing. In his career, he has won numerous Advertising, Innovation and Leadership awards. Graham played a major role in helping J&J win Marketing Magazine’s prestigious “Marketer of the Year” award.

Graham brings a reputation for challenging brand leaders to think differently and to be more strategically focused. Graham founded Beloved Brands in 2010, to help brands find growth and make brand leaders smarter. He leads workshops to help define your Brand Positioning, build your brand’s Big Idea, and write strategic Brand Plans that motivate and focus everyone that works on the brand. Our Beloved Brands training programs will help your team, produce exceptionally smart work work that drives stronger brand growth and profits. We cover everything a brand leader needs to know including strategic thinking, planning, positioning, execution and analytics.

Our robust client roster has included the NFL Players Association, Reebok, the NBA, Acura, Shell, Miller Lite, 3M, Jack Link’s and Pfizer. His weekly brand stories have generated over 5 million views.

4 Comments

Sumit Roy · October 13, 2013 at 7:15 am

Hi Graham:

Another great post.

I am a brand secularist at heart and acknowledge that there are many right ways to “God” and “Brand”.

And as you know, I am an admirer of the “Beloved Brands” theology.

But like you, I am open to some healthy debate.

One concern that I have for the way that you have crafted your brand concept statement is that it is product centric.

Gray would be missing out on other products and services that they could introduce if they made “the taste of guilt free pleasure” their single minded brand thought.

I realise that your format was designed for arriving at great advertising briefs.

But now with the consumer turning out to be your best copywriter, the more you could get them to talk about other guilt free pleasures that taste good, the more the “brand” would get championed.

Also, by focusing on the ’emotionale’ of the brand, it’s easier to come up with augmented services that can become self-financing promotions of the brand.

The second concern I have is that you seem to have suggested an emotionale is an option with “Brand Promise (emotional or rational benefit)”.

I believe if you leave brand managers with the option of choosing between emotional and rational, they will state only ‘rationales’. Whereas you already have room for that in the ‘reason to believe’.

As we all know, people buy brands with their hearts and rationalize with their minds.

    beloved brands · October 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Hotspex has research to show that decisions are in on average 50% rational and 50% emotional. What I try to talk about is the balance of that, within the concept, and emotional can show up in the benefit or the reason to believe. I have faith that Brand Leaders will begin to find this balance.

Barry O'Grady · October 16, 2013 at 10:22 am

Graham, well done. I think this is a great summary of how to approach positioning without an ethereal lecture on the topic. The only thing I would add is that developing a great one requires a willingness to simultaneously push the boundaries AND maintain rigorous discipline which the format demands…..this is a great service to the marketing community.
Barry O’Grady

Bob Killian · October 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

Strong and clear, as usual.

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