How to adjust your brand positioning to win in the reboot

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

As brands come out of the shutdown and get ready for the reboot, be careful of the naive calls to change everything about your brand altogether. 

I’m here to tell you to adjust, not drastically change. If you are a well-known brand, consumers should already know your brand positioning. That should not change. 

What you should do is to layer in the added functional and emotional benefits that can create a safer version of your brand. The coronavirus is creating fear for consumers who are now looking for control, safety, and comfort. 


Consumers don't want a different version of your brand; they want a better version

As consumers move out of the quarantine,  they are looking for alternatives where they can escape crowds into isolation. Consumers want ideas to help them eliminate any personal touch with others. Yet, contradicting all that fear, Lonely isolated consumers crave ideas that will allow them to have fun again. As we move out of quarantine, this sets up the sweet spot for consumers.

Coronavirus Consumer Needs

The reboot starts by adjusting your functional consumer benefits

To help brand leaders, I have taken nine functional need state zones and expanded the list to over 50 potential functional benefits your brand can build around. Our process gets to you to look through the list. Then, gravitate to the functional benefits you think will fit your consumers’ needs in a space where your brand can do it better than competitors. Start with the words on the cheat sheet below, then layer in your creative language based on specific category words or specific consumer words and phrases they use. Revisit the functional benefits your brand can own with our functional benefit cheat sheet.

As you get your brand ready for the reboot, here are the adjustments you should make on your functional benefits. Looking at our Covid-19 specific functional benefit cheat sheet below, you should explore the functional benefits that relate to simplicity, helping family, healthier, and staying connected.

Then adjust your emotional consumer benefits

Below you will find a list of 40 potential emotional benefits. From my experience, marketers are better at finding the ideal rational benefits compared with how they work at finding the ideal emotional benefits for their brands. As a brand, you want to own one emotional space in the consumer’s heart as much as you own a rational space in the consumer’s mind. When I push brand managers to get emotional, they struggle and opt for what they view as obvious emotions, even if they do not fit with their brand. I swear every brand manager thinks their brand should be the trusted, reliable, and likable. Use our cheat sheet to dig deeper on emotions. 

As you get ready for the reboot, here are the adjustments you should make on your emotional benefits. Looking at our Covid-19 specific emotional benefit cheat sheet below, explore how your brand can layer in the emotions such as control, feeling myself, and feeling comfortable.

How this all comes together in your positioning for the reboot

Let me use an inspiration from a European vegan restaurant called Eten Restaurant from Amsterdam. Before the shutdown, the functional benefits that Eten stood for were healthier choices and sensory appeal, while the emotional benefits they delivered were optimism and feeling free. 


Their brand positioning would have been: 

“With Eten’s, our exhilarating plant-based cuisine is inspired by the greatest chefs of Europe. You will feel free with a special experience along the most beautiful canals of Amsterdam.”


Eten is one of the brands that have come up with a very creative way to isolate people so they can dine in public while staying safe during Covid-19. They created a dining concept they call “Serres Sépparées” (separate greenhouses in English) that allows their guests to enjoy a plant-based meal with a beautiful waterside view of the city. 

The restaurant now reports that are fully booked up through the end of June. I love this idea because the greenhouse idea is a perfect fit for a vegan restaurant. Other restaurants should try their version of these booths. 

Now let's look at how we layer in the reboot

As this restaurant gets ready for their brand reboot, they can layer in the functional benefit of simplifying life, while the emotional benefit is helping consumers feel safe and stay in control. 


The reboot brand positioning statement would be: 

With Eten’s, our exhilarating plant-based cuisine is inspired by the greatest chefs of Europe. You can feel safe and in control while in your own private greenhouse pod along Amsterdam’s most beautiful canals.

Do not change your brand positioning. Adjust it.

Our playbooks will show you new ways for how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  1. You will find new strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  2. To define the brand, I 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 show a 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. 
  3. 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 marketing communications plan, innovation process, and sales plan. 
  4. To grow your brand, I show how to make smart decisions on marketing execution with chapters on how to write a creative brief, how to make decisions on creative advertising and how to lead the media choices. 
  5. When it comes time for analyzing the performance of your brand, I provide all the analytical tools you need to lead a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand.  

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand and be successful in your marketing career.

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