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Picture: 123RF/RAW PIXEL
Picture: 123RF/RAW PIXEL

As the third wave of the Covid pandemic sweeps SA, brands are scrambling to get the attention of increasingly discerning and hyper-aware consumers. How have some brands remained resilient in the face of uncertainty? What do resilient brands get right, allowing them to not only stand their ground in tough times, but to emerge stronger?

According to Diana Springer, managing partner at Black & White, an M&C Saatchi Group SA company, and Robert Grace, founding partner and head of strategy at M&C Saatchi Group SA, clarity is what ultimately drives resilient brands’ positioning, builds their equity and gets customers converting faster. 

“Clarity is the foundation to building a resilient brand and the only way to get to a precise answer,” says Grace. “Strong, resilient brands share common traits. When you consider what it is that enables them to recover quicker, endure better and drive growth, you can’t help but land on this truth: they are clearer than their competitors. The power of clarity can never be overestimated.”

We are experiencing the biggest societal disruption of our generation. In this new world and the evolving “normal”, brands would do well to pursue clarity in their positioning, says Grace. “Everyone wants to build brand equity and convert their audience – these are vitally important steps – but they need to get a handle on their brand positioning for a post-Covid world first.”

Springer is no stranger to brands wanting to side-step positioning in favour of getting to the exciting parts. “I can almost hear the collective yawn when the conversation shifts to positioning,” she laughs. However, far from being a boring box-ticking exercise or a snooze through marketing 101, unpacking a brand’s positioning becomes progressively more exciting as clarity starts to emerge.

“In the pursuit of a precise positioning for any brand, clarity starts with one question: how do we get to the only possible words for your brand? These are the words that feel right for the business, the category, the market and the target audience,” she says.

In answering that question, Springer looks at three considerations and single-minded questions that allow you to land on a more creative, interesting and, for lack of a better description, “sticky” brand positioning. 

The first consideration is around mindset. What space does the brand own in the audience’s mind? What is the brand associated with? Brands can arrive at this point by shifting the description of the audience from their demographic to understanding the drivers of their purchase.

The single-minded question: Our brand is for people who are ______________

The second is the role of the brand. Instead of focusing on defining the features and benefits of a brand or product, the focus shifts from the “what” to the “when”; understanding when the brand is needed – or in this case, the role of the brand. 

The single-minded question: We should come to mind when ______________

The third is being distinct. Brands need to shift from trying to be different to aiming to be distinct. This means that instead of defining a unique selling point, rather focus on a unique selling perspective and showing up in a more distinctive manner. 

The single-minded question: And we want to make them feel ______________

Springer and Grace believe that the answers to these three single-minded questions will provide a sharper focus and clarity to the only possible words for a brand and define its precise positioning. This will lay the foundation for building brand equity (what a brand is famous for), and driving faster conversion (performing at the moments that matter), ultimately ensuring a future-fit and resilient brand.

The big take-out:

Clarity is what ultimately drives resilient brands’ positioning, builds their equity and gets customers converting faster. 


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