Three Complementary Models of Brand Planning

Think about any great brand. Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss, Starbucks and Apple are just a few examples. Great brands do not happen by accident; rather they are the result of careful and creative brand planning and the timely execution of innovative marketing strategies.

Renowned brand expert, marketing professor and author Kevin Lane Keller has distilled strategic brand planning into three complementary models that grow in scale and scope as they progress. These models help in developing brand strategies and business marketing ideas. Keller’s extensive research into the understanding of consumer behaviour has improved the way many companies apply their marketing strategies and the way they build, measure and manage brand equity.

Like a set of Russian nesting dolls – the three models are interlinked and build on each other. The first is a component of the second and the second of the third. Keller sets out his three interconnected models for strategic brand planning to establish a unique brand positioning, create intense and actively loyal relationships with your customers and to allow you to better understand the financial impact of marketing expenditure and investment in an eBook entitled Brand Planning.

Brand Positioning Model

The first model is the brand positioning model. Positioning is defining your offering and image so that it occupies a distinctive placement in the minds of the target market.

Within the positioning model there are four distinct components which should be considered to create superior competitive positioning for your brand. These can be summarised as follows:

Competitive frame of reference. This defines which other brands your brand is competing against. It’s important to know which these are so that you may focus your analysis.
Points-of-difference. These are the attributes that set one brand apart from another. In essence, these are benefits that customers strongly associate with a brand, and believe they could not find with a competing brand.
Points-of-parity. The opposite of points of difference, points of parity are associations that are not unique to a brand and may be shared with other brands.
A brand mantra. This is designed to give more focus to the brand’s intended positioning. A brand mantra should articulate the “core brand promise” in three to five words. This should not be the same as the ‘slogan’ used in advertising and is for internal use.

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