NOTE: This is the first in a series of four posts, outlining my view as to what is involved in developing powerful, branded marketing communications. Post #1 below provides an overview. It will be followed by three subsequent posts presenting the separate components: Brand Essence, Unique Selling Proposition (U.S.P.) and Individual Sales Messages.
POST # 1 … Notice in the above headline it is BRANDED MARKETING communications; not “branded communications”, not “marketing communications”. The logic for that is that just a “branded” effort may well communicate a sense of the brand, but without the critical underpinnings of “marketing,” whatever it is you’re selling….you probably won’t. The other side of the same coin, just “marketing communications,” ties back to what this whole blog is all about and what I believe is missing in most SME communications efforts today…the branding connection (especially to some of the emotional components). I guess, arguably, a price list is a marketing communication, BUT … you get the picture.
So let’s explore what a SME needs to do to develop its effective branded marketing communications campaign.
Define the BRAND ESSENCE
Define your brand, its essence or soul if you will. This is a statement, reflecting an amalgam of rational and emotional aspects that will attract customers, make them comfortable with the brand and support their continued closeness to it. It is NOT a tagline, advertising claim, whatever. It is a statement that attempts to capture exactly what the brand is “all about.” It will be used as almost a template to insure that future derived communications are consonant (that’s the same as “in tune,” for those that had a problem with 9th grade English) with what the brand stands for. This statement or template is called the “Brand Essence”.
Generate the UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (U.S.P.)
The U.S.P. is the most borrowed, incorrectly used and just plain abused advertising term ever developed. It was posited by Ted Bates agency Chairman Rosser Reeves in 1961. I’ll explain much more about it in forthcoming Post #3. Suffice it to say it is an encapsulation of the optimum selling idea; one that can differentiate the brand and attract people to it. It can be used as an advertising tagline or claim, but usually not. Its better use is to serve as a standard or if you will, a benchmark, against which all advertising executions, copy and even individual selling messages are reviewed to insure they are working as hard as possible and having maximum impact.
Distill Individual SALES MESSAGES
Now we’re down to the fun part and one where everyone from Marketing to Sales to Government Affairs can play. Depending on the objectives that branded marketing communications are meant to achieve (or, let’s admit it, even just influence), potentially hundreds of valid individual sales messages can be generated and used, when and where appropriate in the course of business. Most of these should be pretty much in line with the U.S.P. and Brand Essence, but there can be outliers that serve short term tactical needs. Look for more on this … how to generate them, how to prioritize them and more in coming Post #4.
Ok, so there you have it, just how you can generate powerful BRANDED MARKETING communications (remember now, that’s both “Branded” and “Marketing”). Stay tuned and I’ll explain more in detail for each of the three key areas. Who knows? Maybe someday I can help you in person. Just let me know… mike@SMEbrandleverage.com.