How to develop a Brand Communication Strategy that will change consumer behavior

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How to develop a Brand Communication Strategy that will change consumer behaviorThe role Brand Communication is to change consumer behavior to help tighten the bond with consumers. At Beloved Brands, we use seven questions to help focus the brand communications. The answers can help you set up your Creative Brief.

  1. Who is in the consumer target?
  2. What are we are selling?
  3. Why should they believe us?
  4. Does your brand have an organizing Big Idea?
  5. What do we want the advertising to do?
  6. What do we want people to think, feel or do?
  7. Where will you deliver the message?

How to develop a Brand Communication Strategy

Q1: Who is the consumer target you are selling to?

Brand Leaders always think about who they want, but rarely who wants them. A good way to challenge yourself is to ask: “who is the most motivated to buy what you do? You can’t sell a golf ball to people who hate golf. And, you can’t get people with hardwood floors to buy carpet cleaning.

You have to know who their customer is and who it is not. Everything starts and ends with the Consumer in mind. Spreading your limited resources across an entire population is cost prohibitive–low return on investment and low return on effort. Targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first. It is actually less safe because you never get to see the full impact.

Realizing not everyone can like you is the first step to focusing all your attention on those that can love you. And, it becomes all about choices and you will be much more effective at convincing a segment of the population to choose your brand because of the assets and promise that you have that match up perfectly to what they want.

Lead with Consumer Insights

How to develop a Brand Communication StrategyTo 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”. Too 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.

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.

Q2: What are you selling?

This is where we talk benefit, and it should usually be a combination of rational and emotional. The next decision is the main benefit you want to focus on. Doing a Customer Value Proposition (CVP) helps to organize your thinking as a great tool for bringing the benefits to life.

Finding your consumer benefits

Hold a brainstorming session with everyone who works on the brand so you can:

  • Get all of the consumer insights and need states out. 
  • Match them up against the list of the best features the brand offers. 
  • Then, find the rational benefit by putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer and seeing the brand features from their eyes: start asking yourself over and over again “so if I’m the consumer, what do I get from that?”. Ask it five times and you’ll see the answers will get richer and richer each time you ask. 
  • Finally, find the emotional benefit by asking “so how does that make me feel?” Ask that five times as well, and you’ll begin to see a deeper emotional space you can play in and own. 

How to develop a Brand Communication StrategySome CVPs can end up very cluttered, but the more focused you can make it the easier it will be for you to choose which one you will stand behind, and which one benefit you’ll communicate.

That’s right: JUST ONE BENEFIT! Agencies use so many tricks to get it down to the ONE THING. Examples of this could be a postcard or a bumper sticker, or silly questions like “what would you say to get someone to marry you” or say in an elevator.

My favorite is to get people to stand up on a chair and “SHOUT FROM THE MOUNTAIN” what your benefit is. It forces you to want to scream just ONE THING about your brand—keep it simple. You can’t scream a long sentence.

And if you are into math, another way to look at this is through a simple function, where the probability of success (P) is directly linked to the inverse of the numbers of messages (M) you have in your ad: P = 1 divided by 1 to the power of M. My guess is that if you find this last formula motivating, maybe marketing isn’t for you.

Q3: Why should they believe us?

It seems that whenever we tell people something, they want to know more. This is where we use our Support points to back up what you say.

If we borrow from a classic logic technique below, they teach you to one conclusion and two premises. I took one logic class at University and sat there for 13 straight weeks of premise-premise conclusion. While an easy class, the lesson has stuck with me:

  • All fish live in water (premise)
  • Tuna are fish (premise)
  • Therefore, tuna live in the water (conclusion)

Support points

In a positioning statement, the brand benefit would be the conclusion. And the Reason to Believe (RTB) would be the supporting premise.

I say this for a few reasons. First, the RTB should never be the conclusion. And, the consumer doesn’t care about what you do, until they get something from it. The benefit has to come from the consumers’ shoes. Second, if pure logic teaches two premises are enough to draw any conclusion, then you really only need two RTBs. Brands with a laundry list of RTBs are not doing their job in making a decision on what the best support points are. You either force the ad agency to decide what are the most important or the consumer to decide. By deferring, you are weakening your argument.

Q4: What is the organizing Big Idea?

This is where we start to build the brand’s reputation. And we ask “what is the Big Idea for the brand? Everyone talks about the 7-second elevator pitch, but it’s not easy to get there. I suppose you could ride up and down the elevator and try telling people. That may drive you insane. The Big Idea (some call it the Brand Essence) is the most concise definition of the Brand. For Volvo, it’s “Safety”, while BMW might be “Performance” and Mercedes is “Luxury”. 

How to develop a Brand Communication Strategy

Q5: What do we want the brand communications to do for the brand?

We recommend that you use the Brand Love Curve to frame your strategy. In the consumer’s mind, brands sit on a Brand Love Curve, with brands going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved Brand for Life. At the Beloved stage, demand becomes desire, needs become cravings, thinking is replaced with feelings. Consumers become outspoken fans.

how to create a beloved brand

It’s this connection that helps drive power for your brand: power versus competitors, versus customers, versus suppliers and even versus the same consumers you’re connected with. The farther along the curve, the more power for the brand. It’s important that you understand where your brand sits on the Love Curve and begin figuring out how to move it along towards becoming a Beloved Brand. With the power of connection, the brand can leverage that power into increased growth and profits.

Picking a brand strategy

To figure out your strategic options, you need to understand where you are on the Brand Love Curve. This helps you understand HOW to move to the next stage. A brand at the Indifferent stage needs to establish itself in the consumer’s mind. Brands at the Like It stage need to separate itself from the pack and create a following.  Love It stage brands need to tug at the heartstrings of those consumers who have shown some love in order to tighten the bond. Those at the Beloved stage must continue the magic and activate the most loyal followers into fans.

Here is a guideline for Brand Leaders to use in their plans with the 20 possible strategies to use. 

Creating Beloved Brands

Use this as a guideline to get you started on your plan and you may need to add specific flavoring to your situation. As you’ll see, if your brand is at the Indifferent stage, you can’t easily cross sell and you certainly can’t get loyalists to influence others, since you have no real loyalists.

Q6: What do want people to think, feel or do?

When people think about brand communication too many brand leaders start with what they want to say (the stimulus) but forget about what they want to be heard and what they hope the consumer does (the desired response).

Once you answer these six questions, you can then transform those answers into a creative brief that you can use with your agency. To read more about how to write a Creative Brief, follow this hyperlink: How to write a Creative Brief

Q7: Where will you deliver the message?

Line up your media choices to the desired response that matches up to the brand funnel.

How to develop a Brand Communication StrategyFinally, this should set up your Brand Communication so that it can change consumer behavior to drive the brand’s bond, power and profit.

How to develop a Brand Communication Strategy

To read more on Creative Briefs, follow this presentation

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 or call me at 416 885 3911

Graham Robertson bio



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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.

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