In this branding blog, we have written about the “sweet spot.” The book, “Aaker on Branding,” defines it as the intersection between consumer passions and brand benefits. While there are several variations of this description, the basic premise of the “sweet spot” relies on a deep understanding of your consumers beyond demographics, household composition, and top-line preferences. It requires real insights on their dreams, visions, and interests.
At a recent advertising conference I heard this: “Branding moves at the speed of culture.” It was a “wow moment.” The example was based on a popular brand of headphones and ear buds that have done an incredible job of tying their products to what’s currently trending. As a result, the brand is always at the forefront of culture and endorsed by many top athletes and celebrities. I should add, too, that the creative work is pretty brilliant.
The intersection of your brand promise, your customers’ passions, and the rapid changes in our culture is the recipe for making the “sweet spot” even sweeter.
Here’s how the three ingredients work together:
- Your Brand Message – remains at the top as the overarching benefit and promise of your product or service. Your brand still requires all the special time and touches it takes to develop just the right essence and differentiation.
- Your Customer’s Passions – What drives the lifestyle and behaviors of your consumers? What dreams and visions do they have about their lives? Answers to these questions will help you create the right words and images which help create a brand bond and speak to what’s most important to consumers and what’s in it for them.
- At the Speed of Culture – What’s trending, hot, and timely? How are we communicating and what new technology is driving us ahead? What news or culture events have us talking? These trends and forces will help our brands be as relevant and real-time as possible.
An example that might help, take Starbucks. The brand message is around the experience of the coffee restaurant; the “between” place from home to office. Customer passions might include key words and images such as “comfort,” “personal,” and “gathering.” At the time of this writing, unfortunately, there’s a lot of violence trending such as gun fights in Waco, train crashes, and (too) many other examples. If Starbucks really wanted to hit the “sweeter” sweet spot, create a program that offered “relief” in the comfort of its’ stores and communicate this message through visuals, key words, and immersive experiences. That’s moving at the speed of culture!
While a brand message should be around for at least a couple years, that doesn’t mean it can’t be flexible and nimble and really resonate with consumers by attaching itself to what matters to them most, that day.
Branding moves at the speed of culture. How sweet it is!