Everyone seems to call the short form description by different names; brand DNA, big idea, brand essence or shout from the mountain. I keep it simple by calling it the brand idea. The challenge is your brand idea must be interesting, simple, unique, inspirining, motivating and ownable. A brand idea must be interesting, simple, unique, inspiring, motivating and ownable
When your brand idea is interesting and simple, it helps the brand gain quick entry into the consumer’s mind, so they will want to engage and learn more about the brand. With the consumer being bombarded by 5,000 brand messages every day, the brand only has 7-seconds to connect or else consumers will move on. When the brand idea is unique and own-able, it stands out from the clutter, and the brand can see enough potential to build their entire business around the idea. When the idea is motivating to consumers, the brand gains an ability to move consumers to see, think, feel or act in positive ways that benefit the brand.
Can you describe your brand in 7 seconds?
Does everyone in your company say the same thing? The brand idea should be big enough to last 5 to 10 years, flexible enough to show up the same no matter what media options the brand uses. The idea must provide a common link across the entire product line-up. The idea should inspire the team working behind the scenes to deliver amazing consumer experiences. Brand Leaders must work to create and build a reputation that matches up to the idea.
The brand idea is the first things consumers connect with
The brand has to show up the same way to everyone, no matter where it shows up. Even as the brand leader expands on the idea, whether telling the brand story over 60-seconds, 30-minutes or over the lifetime of the brand, the brand must tell the same story. When the idea works best, the most far-reaching sales rep, the scientist in the lab, the plant manager or the customer service people must all articulate the brand idea in the same way, using the same chosen words. Every time a consumer engages with the brand, they must see, hear and feel the same brand idea. Each positive interaction further tightens their bond with the brand.
Align all touchpoints with consumers
There are 5 consumer touch-points that need to be aligned and managed, including the brand promise, brand story, product innovation, the path to the purchase moment and the overall consumer experience. I have created the brand idea map to help align all 5 consumer touch-points. As today’s consumers naturally doubt and test the brands to see if they deliver, every time the consumer interacts with the brand, they should experience the same brand idea that attracted them to the brand on day one. When all five consumer touch-points line up to deliver the same brand idea, the bond with the consumer will continue to tighten.
The brand idea map
- The brand promise connects with consumers and separates the brand from competitors. The promise must position the brand as interesting and unique, utilizing brand positioning work that defines the target market, the balance of functional and emotional benefits, along with key support points.
- The role of the brand story is to help the brand stand out from the pack and gain the consumer’s consideration for purchase. The idea must push consumers to see, think, feel or act differently than before they saw the brand message.
- Innovation must help the brand stay on top of the latest trends in technology, consumer need states, distribution and competitive activity. A brand cannot stand still. The idea should act as an internal beacon to help inspire the product development to come up with new ways to captivate consumers.
- The purchase moment transforms the awareness and consideration into purchase. Ensure everyone along the path to purchase is delivering the same brand message, using retail and selling strategies to influence consumers through direct selling, retail channels or e-commerce.
- Create consumer experiences that over-delivers the promise, driving repeat purchase and future consumer loyalty. Partnering with Human Resources, the idea acts an internal beacon to the brand’s culture and organization, influencing the hiring, service values and motivation of the operations teams who deliver the experience.
The brand idea map for Gray's Cookies
This type of thinking can be found in our Beloved Brands and B2B Brands playbooks
Learn to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand
- You will find strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies.
- To define the brand, I will provide a tool for writing a brand positioning statement as well as a consumer profile and a consumer benefits ladder. I have created lists of potential functional and emotional benefits to kickstart your thinking on brand positioning. We explore the step-by-step process to come up with your brand idea and bring it all together with a tool for writing the ideal brand concept.
- For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the creative brief, innovation process, and sales plan. I provide tools for how to create a brand calendar, and specific project plans.
- To grow your brand, I show how to make smart decisions on marketing execution around creative advertising and media choices.
- When it comes time for the analytics, I provide all the analytical tools you need to write a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand. Write everything so that it is easy to follow and implement for your brand.