I'm working on a one-page version of my strategy process. It's called USUP which stands for Unique Solutions to Unique Problems. In order to solve a company's problem you first have to solve your customer's problem. These are usually found outside of your category, and identifying a unique problem doesn't just enable unique solutions, but ensure genuine differentiation. The goal of this process is to find a cultural position for the brand to champion and connect with people based on a shared set of values.
This is very much a work in progress so I'd appreciate any feedback.
1. What’s your problem?
Who are our core audiences? Roughly:
What do they have in common? No lowest common denominator.
What are their values and beliefs? Political. Moral. Social.
What are their problems related to status, identity and belonging?
What are their goals, dreams, hopes and fears?
What is their behaviour and attitudes towards the category?
What is their perception of our brand and product?
2. What’s their problem? 3. So, how the hell do we solve it?
A statement of current affairs.
What is our problem?
(OR: HOW WE BRING THE BRAND TO LIFE?)
STATEMENTS OF STRATEGIC INTENT
Media-mix (the medium is the message)
How can we use new channels to deliver products and services and have comms and product merge?
The U.S.U.P. Strategy.
We will solve (Unique Problem) for (group of people) by (Unique Solution).
CATEGORY MAP PERCEPTUAL MAP
OUR POSITION IN SHORT. GENERAL AND CATEGORY SPECIFIC:
What are the most dominant cliches and conventions in the category?
What is the cultural context. Right here. Right now.
How is the category culturally relevant?
What are the related topics (of controversy)?
What is the category’s ideological conventions? It’s perceived worldview.
FOCUSING IN ON THE IMPORTANT STUFF
BRAND (no lame adjectives allowed)
(OR: HOW DO WE CONNECT WITH PEOPLE AND GIVE THEM A REASON TO CARE?)
Brand persona (our public persona)
(OR: HOW DO WE CLOSE THE GAP BETWEEN PRODUCT AND BRAND?)
How can improve existing and create new, products and services?
Services innovation (incl. delivery)
Limited editions/campaign ideas
PEOPLE - WHAT ROLE WILL WE PLAY IN THEIR LIVES?
For which subculture or group of people can we be particularly relevant? What problems do they face, in life
and society? Related to identity, status and belonging? With whom do we have a shared set of values,
worldview and a common enemy? Make up your own deﬁnition, but be speciﬁc about what makes it a group.
The members don’t have to know each other or currently see themselves as part of this group.
PEOPLE POSITIONING STATEMENT
INVOLVEMENT DRIVER 1
PRICE DRIVER 2
Where do we come from? What made us successful?
How can we describe our brand?
What are the perceptions of our brand?
What is set in stone?
What is the ﬁve-year business plan?
What’s currently working? Not working?
How do our products and services stand out?
What further research is required
to answer these questions?
KEY PEOPLE INSIGHT
KEY CATEGORY INSIGHT
KEY CULTURAL INSIGHT
CULTURE - WHAT WILL WE SYMBOLISE?
What aspects of culture will we take a point of view on? What cultural issues can we take a position on that
our category opposes? What will our position on these be? How can we come to stand for something distinct
and relevant to both users and non-users? Become a statement and a symbol?
CULTURAL POSITION STATEMENT
WE WILL X FOR Y
BOLD. RELEVANT. PROVOCATIVE. INTERESTING. CONFIDENT. IRREVERENT. COOL. FUN. UNIQUE
WHAT IS THE UNIQUE PROBLEM THAT WE WILL SOLVE?
The ﬁrst step towards unique solutions is by deﬁning a unique problem. So, what’s it gonna be? I’ll give you
three hints: 1. It relates to culture. 2. We will be credible in solving it. 3. The category is guilty of either
creating, reinforcing, or at least failing to address it.
THE EASY WAY TO COME UP WITH A UNIQUE SOLUTION IS TO DEFINE A UNIQUE PROBLEM
CATEGORY - HOW WILL WE BE DIFFERENT AND DISTINCT?
How can we map the wider category according to cultural dimensions? Look at the cliches and conventions,
what do these imply about the worldview and ideology of the brands people are exposed to? The goal is to
discover white space for us to occupy. Making sure we’re truly different and distinct.
CATEGORY POSITION STATEMENT
Keeping the S.W.O.T. in mind, we’ll go back and forth between People, Category and
Culture, to explore territories, approaches and opportunities. The goal is two-fold: 1)
Deﬁne a Unique Problem, and 2) Come up with a Unique Solution. USUP!
Come back here to make sure your USUP ticks the all the boxes:
Relevance - Will anyone give a shit?
Credible & authentic - evolution not revolution
Big idea - inspires creativity for, and guides, all marketing efforts
Distinct - Does it stand out in our culture as well as the category?
Polarising - Will it generate conversation, debate, PR and buzz?
Flexible - is it adaptive to constantly evolving culture and context?
NOW COMES THE FUN PART
Solutions to problems may lie within either Brand, Communication or
Product - or most likely a combination of the three. Coherency is key,
and changes in one area usually leads to opportunities also in the other
two. The goal is for the three to reinforce each other and become larger
than the sum of their parts as all efforts are aligned and working
together towards common objectives as a seamless whole.
But it all starts with the BRAND.
People just don’t care about brands and their problems. Which is why brands, in order to solve their own problems, must ﬁrst aim to solve people’s problems. And once a unique problem is deﬁned, a unique solution will be much easier to ﬁnd. And that’s what this approach is all about.
This is more about the
product than the brand.
What part of
who we are
now can we
zoom in on
Brand, Communication and Product Strategies & Tactics