Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Value in promoting values in a time of disruption

A good brand is nothing if not a clear and compelling point of view. Crafted correctly it is a compass, one which helps people more easily navigate the category in which the brand belongs and gives it a lift above the fray.

Why does a point of view matter?

A point of view is a reflection of a value or belief. People generally are motivated to form relationships and bonds with things that share not violate the values and beliefs they hold. When a brand extols a point of view directly and clearly it helps attract people who are like-minded and like-hearted.

It also has the advantage of feeling rather noble. It is devoid of any obvious commercial motivation, such as the promotion of a capability, product or price. It inherently feels more earnest which is why people let their guard down and are prepared to suspend if not disbelief then hard-edged skepticism.

The greater presence of brands engaging in point of view advocacy is the result of a widening appreciation of its value. In a previous era (Middle ages thinking) such communication was considered 'soft' because it was removed for direct impact on purchase drivers. But enlightenment has arrived. Marketers now realize that when done well it helps establish authenticity in the minds of prospects and consumers alike because the brand is issuing a forceful opinion behind which it is perceived to stand. It's not like the accountability of measurement has lessened - for attitudinal shifts in brand considerations and likeability are important dimensions of a brand relationship to see progress along - rather that the value of these shifts has increased in line with an evolved understanding of consumer psychology.

It's action even a construction company can get in on. Some enlightened soul at Nibbi Brothers General Contracting saw the need to reshape perceptions at a time that might otherwise be associated with disruption, noise and dirt. While the firm touts itself as being "In the tradition of Old World Craftsmanship" there's nothing Old World about it's brand management. Promoting its point of view about what it takes to be a good citizen and positioning its business of building as one that participates in it is not just opportunistic, it's inspired.

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