Monday, April 25, 2016

Vacuous Brand Claims

Every so often, I run into marketers who are more interested in coming up with catchy slogans than creating real brand promises. They want something that sounds good. Sometimes they even want something that seems versatile, that is, that could help make any point or say anything. But they are not focusing on the one thing that can make the brand stand apart, its relevant differentiated benefits or shared values and they cannot support their slogan with proof points or "reasons to believe."

Brands need to pick promises and slogans that cannot also work for many other brands in their categories. The promises and slogans need to apply uniquely to them.

The brand positioning exercise is all about claiming something that is unique, compelling, purchase motivating and believable for the brand in question. It is not just about coming up with something that sounds good. 

Here are some examples of pretty lame brand slogans or tag lines that were created without doing the tough brand positioning work first:

  • [brand]: It's got it!
  • [brand]: The place to be
  • [brand]: Tomorrow starts here
  • [brand]: Get into it
  • [brand]: Together for a better tomorrow
  • [brand]: Leading the way
  • [brand]: Making good things happen
  • [brand]: Innovating the future

Admittedly, short catchy tag lines can work if they support unique and compelling brand positions. For instance:
  • Nike: Just do it
  • Subway: Eat fresh
  • Verizon: Better matters
  • Coke: It's the real thing
  • Apple: Think Different
Each of these was created to support a very specific brand position. 

When positioning or repositioning your brand, come up with something that is a powerful differentiator that can't be used by competitive brands. Also pick something that has a very clear meaning and can't be used to make almost any point. Brands need to stand for one thing (or two things at the most). If you are trying to make too many different points about your brand, people will not be able to recall any of the points. If you think the tag lines in the first list are good, I would recommend that you read my book, Brand Aid, second edition. You might change your mind after reading it.

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