Unlike Seinfeld (the show about nothing) brands are about something. To have value, they must have benefit. Ultimately, the consumer asks, "What's this do for me?"
Brands deliver functional and emotional benefits to their users. Both are essential, but I believe the functional benefit is precedent in brand building. Everything else builds on this decision and no amount of marketing overcomes a mistake in this area.
Brands exist inside competitive sets or categories, and often sub-categories. These categories typically have a core functional benefit, maybe more than one. They are the price of entry. People buy detergents to clean clothes. People drink soda because they are thirsty. They eat when they are hungry. They buy pet food their pet will eat. You may or may not be able to differentiate around a category's functional benefit, but you better be competitive.
Which brings us to product performance. As a marketer, you must know the truth about your brand's performance compared to competition and compared to consumer expectation. No amount of trial overcomes lousy performance.
So within your competitive set, what is the core functional benefit(s)? Read more...