- Okay, now that you've identified your uncommon denominator, it's time to do what we call a benefit ladder. Let me explain by illustrating an example. Procter and Gamble launched dryer sheets in 1975. Prior to that, there was no such thing as dryer sheets. So, they launched this brand-new type of product with the functional benefit of wrinkle-free clothes. Because the Bounce dryer sheet contains wrinkle relaxing ingredients, you put them in the dryer and voila, your clothes are wrinkle-free.
At launch, Bounce emphasized their dryer sheets' promise of wrinkle-free clothes. For several years, wrinkle-free was the functional benefit that they messaged in all of their communications, so a few years into their launch, customers readily understood that Bounce brought them the benefit of clothes that are wrinkle-free. With that functional benefit of wrinkle-free solidified, after a few years, Bounce laddered up that functional benefit to the higher-order benefit of attractive clothes.
The customer hears that Bounce makes their clothes attractive, and the reason they believe that promise is that they know Bounce makes their clothes wrinkle-free. Notice how what was previously the promise, wrinkle-free clothes, now serves as a reason to believe in the higher-order benefit of attractive clothes. Bounce then owned this higher-order meaning in customers' minds. And then again, several years later, when customers readily grasped that Bounce makes their clothes attractive, Bounce laddered up again.
This time to the more emotional benefit of feeling pretty. With Bounce, you can feel pretty, why? Because your clothes look attractive. This benefit ladder enables you a reality check of what is meaningful and believable to your customer audience given where you are in your relationship with your audience. You need to be honest with yourself about how emotional your audience will let you be about your brand.
If Bounce had launched with a promise of feel pretty before people even knew what dryer sheets were, it would've been confusing and disingenuous. So, the ladder helps you ensure that you're not overstepping with your customer by promising something so big they won't believe it or won't understand it. The ladder also helps you to see where you are going. How are you gonna keep delivering an ever-larger, ever-more emotional benefit? Why is it a good idea to keep delivering an ever-larger, ever-more emotional benefit? Why should you never rest on your laurels and deliver a functional benefit without pushing it upward on this ladder? There are a few reasons.
The first reason is your profit margin. The larger and more emotional the benefit that you bring, the more customers are willing to pay for your offering and the healthier your margins will be. People are willing to pay more to feel pretty than for a piece of electrostatic cloth drenched in Downy. The second reason is your competitive moat. The higher on this ladder your brand's position, the more difficult it is for others to copy.
It's easy to copy an ingredient and it's hard to copy with credibility a promise of feeling pretty. The third reason is headroom to grow. The higher on the ladder you are, the more categories you can plan, the more you can grow laterally. If you own feel pretty, you can go into categories outside of dryer sheets, so your room for growth is more spacious. So, now it's time to build your benefit ladder.
Look at the uncommon denominator ideas you identified in the previous section and create a benefit ladder for that idea. I advice starting towards the bottom of your ladder with your functional benefit. What is that functional benefit your customer will enjoy if they choose your offering? What are the factual reasons they should believe that benefit? Now, look at the next rung up on your ladder. What does that functional benefit enable for your customer at a bigger, more emotional level? Because of that functional benefit, how is her day better? And lastly, what is that highest order benefit, that most emotional benefit that ultimately your customer enjoys because they purchased your product? Because of you, how is her life better? To go back to the pancake brand example from our uncommon denominator, we identified that our zone was thin, crispy, and uses an old Swedish recipe.
Thin and crispy are functional benefits, and the old Swedish recipe is a reason to believe in those benefits. One rung up on the ladder could be the higher-order benefit of Swedish deliciousness. Our pancakes bring our customers Swedish deliciousness because they're super thin and crispy, because they derive from an old Swedish recipe. And then, the ultimate reward is that your customer and her family can start the weekend with extraordinary, why? Because you've had a breakfast of Swedish deliciousness, why? Because your pancakes are super thin and crispy, why? Because you used your Swedish grandma's recipe.
In this course, branding expert Lindsay Pedersen explains how to create a compelling brand strategy that gets results for your organization. She demonstrates how to properly frame your strategy and covers brand positioning, discussing how to climb a benefit ladder and determine your position. Plus, she shows how to create a personality for your brand, choose the tone, and create an activation strategy.
- Framing your strategy
- Crafting your brand promise
- Defining your brand character
- Activating your strategy
- Identifying your plan of action