UNO April 2019

First things first

Marketing and communication teams are always motivated to ensure their brand’s value proposition is supported by a narrative that goes beyond satisfying functional benefits to clearly express the purpose behind each brand in the portfolio, which must, of course, also go hand-in-hand with a profitable business.

However, I have taken some time to review the natural order of the brand-building process, because evidence has shown it is very common to find strategies focused on building a brand’s purpose without having first evaluated the brand’s value chain that supports its offering. It seems simple, and we often take for granted that we manage to resolve consumer concerns through a matrix of messages sharing an emotional story when, in reality, people are concerned with new ingredients, tastes, experiences and global trends, reflecting opportunities in areas we are still developing.

My thoughts revolve around the moment we concentrate all our resources on structuring the platform our brand proposition will use, when perhaps the first exercise should be a pause to evaluate whether it is, in fact, satisfying the needs of today’s consumers—the informed, demanding and critical consumers who are constantly evolving—not to mention their tastes and concerns.

“Despite the fact that many brands communicate topics of shared value or concern for the environment, buyers end up choosing products from competitors”

It is difficult to remember that modern consumers not only connect with brand propositions (without taking into account functional or emotional attributes and benefits, which continue to have a major influence on purchasing decisions), but also assess other elements that are probably not part of today’s range of possibilities. Several studies have been able to verify that, despite the fact that many brands communicate topics of shared value or concern for the environment, buyers—aside from recognizing their merit—end up choosing products from competitors based on variables such as taste, price or ingredients.

So I would state that the relevance of brand propositions should be inspired by a holistic satisfaction of consumer desires and motivations, transcending the purely functional and linking it to an offering that impacts their quality of life, including attributes that take into account what they provide the individual consumer, community benefit and near-future global trends. These are three definitive variables to leverage for storytelling to lay the foundations for a communications platform that connects with the tone and type of conversation consumers expect. After following this path, we could consider reaching out on their communication channels and asking them to let us in, where we could build a direct relationship with them.

“The relevance of brand propositions should be inspired by a holistic satisfaction of consumer desires and motivations, transcending the purely functional”

Now, we need to think about the points of contact where we are going to have these conversations, especially those we choose for discussing our brand proposition. Receptivity to these messages varies wildly from one channel to another. On some social networks, for example, followers are looking to socialize, provide updates on their lives or engage with light topics that help them find moments of distraction. In traditional media, messages are short and discussed in a broad information agenda that challenges anyone’s ability to stand out through noteworthy, innovative, differentiated stories with tangible arguments.

That is why it is so important to be clear about the status of our storydoing before activating our communications teams. Storydoing is the determining factor in actions and evidence, supporting each story fragment we use to boost our brand’s value proposition at its various points of contact, according to the relevance and needs of each. We should not design a communications strategy without having done the work of reviewing our inventory of achievements, commitments and results that give life to each brand’s purpose.

Phillip Kotler says, “It is no longer enough to satisfy customers; Now, we have to leave them delighted.” And I think the ways brands court each consumer are partly based on finding a balance between satisfying needs and connecting with a higher purpose, one that manages to hook them into any of its three dimensions. We must prioritize among those aspects that directly impact each individual’s routine and their day-to-day decisions.

Martha Arbelaez
Marketing and Communications director at Nestlé de Colombia
A communications professional, she is currently the Marketing and Communications director for Nestlé de Colombia. She has enjoyed a successful professional career for more than 25 years. She began in teaching, then moved to marketing, trade marketing, communications and market research, working for companies such as Bestfood, Casa Editorial el Tiempo and Unilever, among others. In 2007, she joined Nestlé as a Market Intelligence manager. In 2010, she was transferred to Switzerland, where she served as Global Consumer Insight manager for 6 years. In January 2016, she returned to the country in her current role. She holds a specialty in Organizational Communications from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana [Colombia]

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