Perhaps it’s an occupational hazard. Perhaps I’m too close to the industry. But I can’t shake the feeling that now more than ever, the “brief” and – more specifically – the “positioning statement” are becoming a bit literal in today’s consumer marketing products and executions.
Below are 4 words that I seem to see used a lot, as well as some of the trends that may be powering them. And, at least to me, they seem straight from a brief. In fact, I’ll bet it’s pretty rare to see any of these words apart from the context of a product or ad.
- Crafted. Blue Moon is “Artfully Crafted.” Levis has a premium line of jeans called “Made & Crafted.” They’d probably pair well with Converse’s line of premium leather “Clean Crafted” Chuck Taylors. Crafted speaks to the trend of consumers desiring authenticity, individuality and the ability to identify with a brand’s soul. In the case of Blue Moon, the “artfully crafted” product is actually produced in mass quantities by corporate behemoth SAB MillerCoors, but it is carefully positioned as a micro-brew or craft beer. Is crafted then simply a shortcut used by big brand marketers seeking authenticity?
- Curated. Another trend that marketers are exploiting is the fact that consumers want a customized or “unique to them” experience. The term curated is an interesting extension of this desire. We see digital content “curated” based on a consumers specific taste. We even see marketers “curating” advertorials in an effort to present branded content that is relevant to consumers. I receive e-mails from Brooks Brothers with selections that are “carefully curated” based on my browsing and purchase history. In the face of staggering selection, the online shopping trend is definitely towards curated selections. I just find it interesting to see such an obvious strategy utilized in such an overt manner.
- Artisan. Wendy’s offers an Artisan Egg Sandwich and has recently launched an Artisan sandwich platform to take on Panera. Sargento has an entire line of Artisan Blends cheeses. Tostitos has Artisan Recipes tortilla chips. Sam’s Club ups the ante by combining two buzzwords for their Artisan Fresh line of bakery and deli products. (In fact, fresh could easily make this list. It is a well-recognized consumer trigger in the food and restaurant world.) Much like “crafted,” consumers are looking for authenticity. And the artful marketers working with the corporate food industry are happy to serve it up!
- Healthing. To be fair, this isn’t even an actual word. But I’ll be darned if it doesn’t look straight from the brief. Lysol has a new campaign in which they encourage consumers to “Stop just cleaning, and start healthing.” With health and wellness as an overwhelming consumer need, Lysol has attempted to elevate themselves from the category by claiming to be the brand that delivers clean and healthy.
In conclusion, I don’t necessarily believe pulling words or messages directly from the brief is a bad thing. I just find it interesting and think it speaks to a phenomenon of increasingly sophisticated marketers trying to “out strategize” one another in their quest to “elevate the Brand” and connect with consumers.