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Relevant and Compelling

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: June 7, 2011, from the June 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Marketing is a long-term proposition, note Derrick Daye and Brad VanAuken in a 2009 Branding Strategy Insider article (www.brandingstrategyinsider.com), and ignoring long-term positions in order to address the short-term (sales, for example, due to a trendy claim) is a mistake. “The most valuable thing a company owns is its position in the consumer’s mind,” stated Daye and VanAuken, noting that a strong brand competes in a narrow segment of the market and then dominates that segment.

“It’s a challenge to stay on message,” says Young. “Few seem to understand the ‘less is more’ philosophy. One story, well told and richly detailed, is much more compelling. It takes a great deal of discipline to build a strong story base and build on it. It takes time, commitment and focus.”

Less is more may seem limiting at first—and global brands may be particularly challenged here because of variances in the types of claims allowed per regulatory laws and restrictions from country to country—but focusing on the claims that support a cohesive global brand message and identity can strengthen a brand’s reach and depth of connection with consumers across markets.

“You can still be true to what your brand stands for and be globally consistent while being locally relevant,” says Grubow. “Frankly, that can be very beneficial for brands as they mine for consumer insights and understand unmet needs or barriers that can drive innovation. By understanding this insight, brands can articulate benefits and nuance the reason to believe in a way that is relevant and compelling to [consumers]. It is about establishing the relationship and that your brand understands what she needs and that she can trust that the brand can deliver on the promise.”

Changing Faces: Consumers and Competition

The challenge-building claims that move products off shelves and support the brand DNA is not limited to those new to the market. The beauty industry thrives on excitement—the new and innovative—and as so many brand owners note, that which “delights” consumers.