Thursday, February 12, 2009

Basics of branding: Arnell's Pepsi concepts

Too often, positioning strategy is seen as some lofty, abstract, and intangible activity. It's mistaken as a marketing black art because the process that goes into its execution is so subjective.

Frankly, some people are better at understanding consumer strategy than others. They have unique insights into how consumers think, are familiar with multiple points of appropriate cultural references, and can argue for a positioning stance based on a foresight to know that it will effectively ready a brand or product for future success.

They know what consumers engage with and why.

The Pepsi rebrand that launched in January 2009 - including the redesign of a 30 year old logo - is one of those projects that required the expertise of this kind of strategic creative person.

The Peter Arnell Group was the agency responsible for concept development of Pepsi's new logo. A document released (perhaps seeded into the social media community so bloggers like me will pick it up and buzz about it...) describes the rationale behind the new Pepsi logo:

Apparently, "emotive forces shape the gestalt of the brand identity" - a phrase I love! - which means that "things that stir emotions in people influence the whole personality of Pepsi".

Take a look at the document. It's full of bizarre diagrams that deconstruct and code the DNA of the Pepsi brand. It's like looking at the Human Genome Project for a soft-drink.

The value in doing this? The agency is showing it's skills for strategic creativity. It's demonstrating through applied concepts why the new design makes sense, rather than some arbitrary selection criteria that chooses one design over another based on what someone likes the best. It's an attempt to be really scientific - in a creative way.

This matters because the more strategically creative value an agency is able to deliver (in the form of design conceptualization or consumer insight), the greater differentiation they will have against competitors. The greater differentiation, the higher the premium they can charge for their services.

Read the report, see what you think.

1 comment:

Nicholas Fodor said...

I ran into that on the Fast Company blog. I don't know how much is fact and fiction. Part of me believes that it was prepared to this extreme extent and detail in order to gain viral attention. I applaud the effort because it got my attention.