Lately I’ve been learning a lot about branding, some of it is conventional wisdom that many marketers know but some of it is new to me, and it might just be new to you too. As we’ve been examining our current positioning and brand strategy at my day job, we’ve been approaching this new effort in the context of a “brand pyramid”. This is a very structured way of crafting a communication strategy that creates brand synergy starting with the features and attributes of a product or service all the way up to the “brand idea”. The “brand idea” being the essence of what you provide to the marketplace, distilled down to one word if at all possible.
Level One: Attributes and Features
This is where the heavy lifting begins, especially if you offer a complicated product or service. I’ve found it helpful to separate your product or service features into categories, then focus on those attributes that are most desirable and/or that provide differentiation.
Level Two: Functional Benefits
Identify the tangible benefits that consumers will experience by using your product or service, ie: ROI, cost savings, time savings, enhanced productivity, whiter teeth, a flat stomach…you get the idea
Level Three: Emotional Benefits
This is where the fun really begins, now identify the intangible benefits that consumers will experience, ie: Happiness, confidence, more time, peace of mind, more attention, etc…
Level Four: Brand Personality
Based on what you’ve done so far, think about what your brand personality is. This is where the magic starts to happen. Your brand personality will dictate how consumers respond to your brand on an emotional level. It manifests itself in human characteristics such as sincerity, competence, or fun, just to name a few.
Level Five: Brand Idea
This is the essence of your brand, distilled down as succinctly as your product or service will allow, this is the idea that you want your customers to think of every time they hear or see your brand.
Starting with the foundation of your attributes and features you will needs to roll each level into the next creating a synergistic relationship between each level of the pyramid until it ends with the true essence of your brand. You can use this same structure to build a messaging strategy for different segments of your audience; this certainly applies if you are selling into a B2B situation where people in different roles will experience different benefits from your product.
Of course, this is just one method for clarifying a branding strategy, what are some other methods you’re using?