It wasn't that long ago that brands made the claim of no preservatives, no artificial flavors, no artificial colors was a point of differentiation. I remember when Tropicana effectively disrupted the orange juice category with its not from concentrate, nothing added, nothing taken away claim. Today, however, I opened this can of Chef Boyardee and noticed that it included what I believe to be new claims on the can of all of the above. Maybe they've always been that way, but this is the first time I've seen it called out. Good for them. But...I don't think this is going to disrupt anything. Today, this is table-stakes, price of entry stuff. Purely defensive I suppose. Consumers have moved on. Even my hair stylist mentioned this today (I don't remember why?).
So, what can a brand do to drive relevance and differentiation in this world of un-differentiation? The answer, I believe, is to connect your brand to human motivations. How do you do that? Well we do this by helping brands understand the motivations that their brands implicitly express to consumers and how that might be different than their competition. With that insight, we can then show them how to focus their voice through this lens and build not only their differentiation but also their authenticity. The formula is something like this:
We stand for MOTIVATION that is why we TANGIBLE CLAIM.
For example, Chef Boyardee might choose to focus on a motivation of FAMILY (the desire to have, nurture, and please your family). Thus, it would give the NO, NO's a deeper meaning than table-stakes. Instead, they become proof of the brand's character.
This blog offers stories and discussions on how to build more relevance and differentiation for brands. The author is Timothy Coffey, Chief Revolutionist of Launchforce Strategy, a consumer research consultancy that specializes in highly creative qualitative methods. His experience ranges from brand and research management at Procter & Gamble to innovation management at Tupperware to founding and leading an integrated marketing strategy agency. He is the author of three books, Innovation Myths & Mythstakes, The New Super Consumer, Mom&Kid, and The Great Tween Buying Machine.