Brand key framework product marketing
Three essential elements for product marketing: Insight, benefit and reasons to believe

March 9, 2022

Product marketing and the brand key framework – why do I need it?

In product marketing, it is highly important to define how your brand or product is different from your competitors’ and how customers perceive you. Moreover, you can only reach your target group when you truly know their needs, have the means to address them and – on top of it all – can prove to your customers that you and your product or service are the right choice for them and their needs.

Brand or product positioning is critical for further marketing activities as it defines all of the above. Since what we establish in the positioning is going to have a direct effect on the outcome of a marketing campaign, we need a strong framework to lay a solid foundation.

One of those strong frameworks we use for our marketing activities is the brand key framework. It is one of the best models for developing the positioning because it:

  • Allows to place the consumer at the centre
  • Covers the most vital elements of other positioning models
  • Has been tried and tested and is one the most popular brand positioning frameworks
  • Works not only for brands; products can be positioned with the elements of the framework too

Since our focus today is on the advantages of the framework for product positioning, we’ll zero in on three elements of the framework that have the biggest impact on successful product marketing.

Insight, benefit and reason to believe – the core elements

Among the nine elements of the brand key framework, there are three that make up the core of the positioning statement:

  • Insight
  • Benefit
  • Reason to believe

When done right, these three elements have the biggest impact for a successful outcome of any marketing and communication campaign.

The same is also true the other way round: When something goes wrong with the concept, the fault usually lies in these three steps. Since the future success of our product is based on this concept, it is well worth investing the time and effort to get it right.

So, now that we know that insight, benefit and reason to believe are so important: What do they look like and how do I determine which ones are right for me and my product?

Insight – What do my customers need?

User or consumer insights show you a target group’s needs and pain points (i.e., what hinders them when carrying out a specific task) as well as their believes and feelings in relation to a product, service or brand. Choosing an insight kick-starts the process.

The goal is to create suspense, which the benefits of your product or service can subsequently relieve. Important to note: insights are not benefits. They are not about the product or service, but about the person and what irks or hinders them in their daily life or when using a product like yours.

Since the chosen insight affects the rest of the process, it has to be chosen well. This requires in-depth knowledge of your target group. After all, it is not about what you or we think would make your brand look good, but what your consumers truly need. If you don’t have enough insight into your target group, we need to do some research first – it is worth it.

The insight works best when describing an unmet need or wish – ideally written in the personal form. But most importantly: Your insight must be unique. After all, if you and your competitors focus on the same insight for your product category, your overall strategy might turn out to be too similar for any product differentiation.

To give an example for an insight:

“I love hunting, but as a modern hunter I have several apps that I use for assistance: an accurate weather app, a geographical map, ballistics assistance, a digital diary… It is complicated to organise and document my hunting experience with a multitude of applications that are not connected. I also wished I could easily share my hunting experience and successes with my hunting community.”

Benefit – How does my product or service satisfy that need?

The benefit is the product’s answer to the chosen insight. It clearly explains how your product or service can solve the conflict or suspense we created with the insight – which is the value that your customers gain by using your product. When done right, the benefit expresses why your brand is the only option worth considering.

Rational or emotional?

A strong benefit makes the product appear unique and exceptional and provides a functional differentiation from competitors’ products. If your product cannot be differentiated by its functionality, we need to use psychological or emotional elements to make your brand appear unique.

Rational/functional benefit:

  • Answers the question, “What does your product do?”
  • Focuses on a product’s attributes or features in relation to performance
  • Highlights how your product helps produce a specific result
  • Showcases how much money, resources and time you can save or how much convenience you can gain by using the product

Emotional/psychological benefit:

  • Answers the question, “How does this product make me look or feel?”
  • Focuses on the emotional reward or payoff
  • Examples are: feeling content, accomplished, satisfied, on top of things or relieved when using a product, for example because it makes a household chore faster or easier to complete

Now, back to concrete examples. The relieving benefit to our insight is:

“The ZEISS Hunting App » is the first and only app on the market that bundles all hunting-relevant functions in one application to prepare and document the hunt and to communicate with other hunters. In addition to the basics – ballistics calculator, hunting diary and hunting weather – the hunting ground manager is a particularly important tool for hunters. It enables them to share their hunting ground maps and other content with fellow hunters.”

The only thing left to define is why our targeted customer should trust our statement.

Reason to believe (RTB) – Why should my customers believe my claim?

Reasons to believe are simple explanations for why your customers should believe you and the promised benefits. RTBs are not additional benefits.

The most essential question that RTBs should answer is: Why you?

Convincing RTBs could be:

  • Special features of the product (logical explanation)
  • The backstory of its creation
  • Endorsements and recommendations
  • Previous successes
  • The company / brand name and reputation
  • Playing with design elements
  • Results, facts and figures that support the message

Customers constantly hear a lot of promises from a range of companies including yours, so they want you to do one thing: Prove it.

The claims we develop therefore need be backed by science or should be validated by real reviews, e.g. via video testimonials. Your company expertise or having been around for a long time can also suffice – same as accreditations, awards and similar.

Let’s see how we could convince our customers of our fantastic benefit:

 “At one with wilderness: ZEISS Hunting is known to focus on hunters’ individual needs as every hunting experience is unique. The proven ZEISS quality and deep understanding of hunting also show in the ZEISS Hunting App ». More than 150,000 hunters already use the app and value the feature set tailored to the individual needs of hunters. With the ZEISS Victory RF rangefinder and the ZEISS DTI 3/35 thermal imaging camera, ZEISS already offers two connected products that communicate with the ZEISS Hunting App.”

What are the next steps?

The concept of insight, benefit and reasons to believe is never communicated to the end consumer in this form, but serves as the underlying structure for the actual campaign. Now that we have established the most important factors for basically bulletproof product positioning, we can go ahead and start with various marketing activities »!

If you also need someone to help you with your brand or product positioning, simply contact us – we’d love to guide you through the process:

Marketing Strategy & Content Creation
Carl Zeiss AG
CMM marketing campaign

Comprehensive and customer-centred communication project for the multi-purpose coordinate measuring machine ZEISS CONTURA

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