All effective branded offerings anchor the desired and unique satisfactions of brand use in the minds, hearts, and bodies of customers.
Brand use in this context entails all phases of engagement in the customer lifecycle: awareness, consideration, trial, etc.
Effective branded offerings evoke narratives from culture (stories with deep emotional themes and resonance), linking a narrative with brand functions (simplified choice, reduced risk, and self-identification) and the desire among customers for a featured value proposition (the specific satisfactions or utilities related to the branded offering).
The figure below depicts the four dimensions of an intended position, suggesting how marketers can more effectively engage customers with a branded offering.
Brand voices speak to customers, using a brand name, a logo (icon or wordmark), a slogan (unique selling proposition), and a word-of-mouth simplification of the expected value and satisfaction (what we call a “said satisfaction”). Brand consultancies such as Landor go to extraordinary lengths to understand these said satisfactions, incorporating these simplified value propositions into the formal brand identity system (e.g., the replacement of Federal Express with FedEx).
Value propositions constitute well-crafted argumentation (what we call buying logic): an opening declaration of value or a demonstration of need, followed by an experience of relief (resulting from brand use) and a set of claims and warrants (benefits and reasons to believe).
Effective value propositions often incorporate the reasoned findings of a disinterested party who compared and contrasted the relative worth of three or more competitive value propositions—what we call a differentiated value proposition.
Concrete elements use physical objects or properties of the branded offering to further anchor the brand voice and value proposition. In the context of customer engagement, branded merchandise (t-shirts), co-branded white papers, event sponsoring, and viral videos can serve as effective concrete anchors of an otherwise complex or nuanced value proposition.
Tonalities represent the heartfelt emotions of satisfied customers and what “being in relationship with the brand” means to them (why, what, how, and with whom). Voice-ofthe- customer content analytics and social media monitoring provide excellent engagement listening tools for understanding the real tonalities of a brand.
CONTEXTS OF ENGAGEMENT
Customers engage brands and the producers of those brands in the marketplace of ideas: just about everywhere.
In practical terms, customers engage on their own terms, selecting the time, place, and manner of engagement.
This mirrors the classic definition of guerilla warfare, entailing many similarities.
The classic texts on how to deal with insurgencies and counter-revolutionaries boil down to a simple set of prescriptives:
• Stop annoying the locals, befriending them with peaceful gestures and tokens of friendship
• Become allies with tribal leaders, making them more powerful and prestigious in their tribes
• Give tribal warriors tools to fight off the bad guys, praising their skills and achievements (and never, ever criticizing)
• Pay special attention to the old, sick, and young, augmenting