As I’ve mentioned, an increasing number of Brainzooming workshops I do use a presentation strategy where audience members select specific topics we cover live. This allows audience members to customize the presentation to topics they find most relevant. Based on reactions to this presentation strategy, people appreciate this relatively rare opportunity to design a speaker’s presentation to maximize the value for their own needs.
One downside to the presentation strategy is preparing so much content that doesn’t get shared.
For example, during the recent PR Consultants Group workshop on new product launch challenges, the group didn’t select an intriguing strategic thinking exercise to identify or enhance the product benefit statements supporting a new product or service. The strategic thinking exercise (called “That’s What You Say”) is a variation of the “What’s It Like” exercise and another we use to identify less-obvious potential competitive threats for brands.
How the “That’s What You Say” Strategic Thinking Exercise Works
For the new product or service you’re addressing, identify as many potential product benefits as possible. If a product is being re-launched, include both product benefits you’ve highlighted previously plus others that have been ignored, for whatever reason.
After you've exhausted the full list of potential benefits, generalize each of the product benefits, as necessary, to more broadly describe them. Then, for each benefit, identify various non-competitive products, brands, and companies making comparable brand benefit appeals – whether they are being made to your target audience or not.
After developing this expanded list of brands, look at how they tackle communicating comparable brand benefits in ways that are new or more distinct than those currently used in your market.
An Example of “That’s What You Say” in the Toothpaste Market
Suppose you’re launching a new product in the toothpaste market. Competitive brands talk about delivering a variety of product benefits, including:
- Whiter teeth
- Brighter teeth
- Fewer Cavities
- Pain Relief
Most of these brand benefits are toothpaste-focused, so they need some generalization to effectively use them in this strategic thinking exercise.
The list below shows these typical toothpaste product benefits generalized (bolded words) to be more broadly applicable. Additionally, for each benefit in the list, there are one or more other brand categories making comparable product benefit claims.
- Whiter – Laundry Detergent
- Brighter – Light Bulbs, Laundry Detergent
- Lower Treatment / Repair Costs – Preventive Medicine, Auto Preventive Maintenance
- Pain Relief – Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Ointments
Armed with this list of seven other product categories, marketers can look for new strategic inspiration outside their brand category and consider how they could adapt how other brands are addressing comparably positioned product benefits. - Mike Brown
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