The death of the brand proposition and the rise of the brand story

Currently, at the heart of all brand planning lies the single-minded brand proposition. This is, by necessity, a highly focused and concentrated concept expressed in very few words (sometimes only one word). Its primacy as a planning tool derives from the fact that you need this level of focus to make an ad and ads have been the principal communications tool for most brands. However, we all know the world is changing away from advertising and the type of one-way, didactic advertising we’re used to.

Consumers want more engagement and conversation and the new media channels that are opening up also require this in order to operate successfully within them. The brand proposition is a singularly unhelpful tool as the basis for conversation or richer forms of consumer engagement. If a brand were to walk into a room of metaphorical consumers and, with a look of determination, say “Just Do It’, she would be classified as socially dysfunctional and avoided at all costs.

What a brand needs in order to be successful at a party full of consumers, is a story. Stories are richer and deeper than brand propositions and extend backwards into a brand’s category and history and also forwards into the functional reality of product delivery. It will essentially be the brand’s claim to trust and authority.


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