By: Manindra Shrestha

CONVERSATION 1

Brand Guy: Why don’t you guys make some plan on what we can do?

Advertising Guy: Sure. But first tell me, what’s your brief and what do u want to do?

Brand Guy: Umm…Not sure. We need something creative and inclusive of sales aspect too.

CONVERSATION 2

Advertising Guy: Hey! I have some amazing concepts for you which will definitely enhance your Brand.

Brand Guy: That’s alright, but it is not our interest right now. The festive season is nearing so we need to focus on the sales campaign as of now.

I have been part of both of the conversations above. My friends in the industry will agree, we have all been there, done that. Hence, as a professional in Marketing & Advertising fraternity, I understand the urge to prove oneself every day. But often in the rush to push and prove, we forget that the approach towards brand communication has to be as systematic as the process itself.

During my experience so far in the industry, I have learned one of the simplest and most effective ways to approach brand communication strategy, which I am sharing with you below in hopes that you might find it helpful.

WHAT to say?

This is the first thing to remember in the process before you move on to the other two. Your brand strategy is dependent on what you want to say. To do that, take a deep dive into consumer research of the brand for a thorough insight. This is what I call an overall brand audit. At the end of it, you will have the right answer. Here, I would suggest you do qualitative research rather than quantitative.

The number of sales that Starbucks does every day, is perhaps not as much important as the one word “moments” which defines the brand. Starbucks creates “moments” for everyone who wants to escape from hectic life. For a consumer, Starbucks holds the “Third Place” in their life, probably between their family, friends & work. Your first task is to dig out that big idea behind the brand you look-after.

HOW to say?

This is the overall responsibility of an advertising agency — how to position its creative execution. The advertising agency here finds the creative idea through the integration of brand insight and consumer insight. The execution must establish the “conversational moment” between the brand and its consumer. There should be an instant connection between the two. When a consumer watching an advertisement clicks with the message and thinks, “Wow! That’s what I was thinking” or “That’s totally relatable!”, your job is done.

In simple words, a commercial or an advertisement should tell the consumer’s story. When Coke shows a girl drinking a chilled coke on a scorching day, that’s your story. It tells a true story of true emotions. That’s how you spell the brand out to the consumers!

WHERE to say?

Once you’ve established what to say and how to say it, the next step is where to say it.

If you are not able to find the right medium to disseminate your brand idea, the brand communication strategy might go ineffective. Along with finding the right medium, the media planner must be very tactful to allot the marketing budget for maximum return.

Suppose you are a media planner. Starbucks creates an advertisement which communicates the emotional story with consumers. The extension might be on print, audio, visual, and others. Now, which of these mediums would be your priority? Here the planner is effective if you know that the best medium to communicate the brand’s emotion is through audio/visual. 

In my experience, I would say this is the most effective approach to build a brand communication strategy for consumers. “What to say”, should be the playground of Brand Marketer while “How to say” is for Creative Agencies, and “Where to say” is to be evaluated by the Media Planner.

When you have all of the above figured out, that is the right time to pitch ideas to any brand. Also, brands need to be mindful that developing an effective strategy needs time and several brainstorming sessions. Hence, the next time someone comes up to you for an impromptu brand communication plan or you walk up to a brand with your idea, think again! Have you gone through all of the three stages successfully?

Credit: This article is based on my learning from my guru “Mr.Praveen Mukhia” which absolutely blew my mind. The whole complex approach can be simplified if you have understood it completely.

Manindra Shrestha

Founder & CEO, M.A.D Consultant Pvt. Ltd

The author is a professional Brand Consultant who wants to extract the brand from his experiential knowledge 

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