BrandSimple: How the Best Brands Keep it Simple and Succeed

{original squeezed contributor: snallfot}

Key Points

  • The author drives his thesis that simple brands are more likely to succeed.
  • He describes a process to create simple and relevant brands


The process of developing simple brands:

Establish your brand idea

  • A simple and meaningful point of difference that consumers should associate the brand with
  • Includes the 3 components:
  1. Who you’re talking to
  2. Who you want to beat
  3. How you’re going to beat them
  • Often a solution to a simple, everyday problem that is not obvious to anyone else. Research is a great tool to identify the idea, but requires creative stimuli (e.g. good concepts to test)
  • “To (1) frugal people, Motel 6 is the (2) alternative to staying with family and friends that provides a (3) welcoming, comfortable night’s rest at a reasonable price.”
  • Not all ideas following these criteria are good ideas. Aim for a specific but durable idea, and try not to be influenced by too many second opinions.

Capture the essence of your idea

  • Formulate a brand driver that captures the core meaning of the brand idea
  • A brand driver is a single phrase or sentence that can be grasped intuitively by co-workers and provide clear direction that every branding signals should follow
  • A good brand driver talks to peoples’ guts, is crystal clear and easy to remember
  • GE: “Imagination at work”
  • The brand driver is a clarification of the brand idea, which complements it by being inspirational and providing guidance

Get the employees engaged in the idea

  • Communicate the idea inside the organization
  • Demonstrate what it means to make “on-brand” choices in day-to-day activities
  • Often a program that makes people understand how and why the brand idea is important, makes them excited about what they do, and engages them in an interesting way
  • The engineers designing the brakes at BMW know that they are building the “ultimate driving machine”. They don’t need a cookbook recipe, they know the ingredients.
  • Internal communication of the brand is a way of relating the brand idea and brand driver to the employees’ daily tasks. Best case, they understand all the touch-points with the consumers and what is expected of the brand in that stage.

Consider your brand’s name

  • The most important branding signal
  • An even simpler form of the brand idea than the brand driver
  • The best names resonate with (1) brand strategy, (2) consumers, and (3) the law
  • “Timberland” – a wonderfully suggestive and expandable name

Create branding signals, beyond the name

  • Establish a couple of power signals to focus on
  • Assess where the brand has the best opportunity to connect with the consumer
  • Can be next to anything in the market mix: product design, web site, retail environment, etc
  • Apple’s premium packaging and in-store environments are examples of branding signals, whereas KFC’s symbol is a true power signal

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