I was doing my usual trawling of the internet today, looking for new best practices and ironically tripped over an old, well-used tactic: reframing. For those of you who don’t know this strategic planning tactic, it is an exercise that, often through laddering, connects your brand to a larger, hopefully more relevant, context.
As I was reading through the article it occurred to me that many of the brands we work on these days are older brands, some twenty years old, some seventy years old. And some smart company or brand manager came up with that brand idea back then because it was smart and relevant then. But of course, now the world has changed, and has reframed dramatically around these brands. So doesn’t it make sense the brand is reframed as well to recognize the new realities?
This specific article I was reading was about the newspaper business; clearly an industry being challenged, to put it nicely, by new technologies. But I love how they “zero based” the research and ended up with a broader, more relevant brand proposition.
From those meetings, the group learned they weren’t just in the news business; they were in the“connection business.” “We connect information to readers, consumers to products,” said Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle publisher Stephanie Pressly. “We empower people.”
Benefits of Reframing
The benefits of reframing are many, as my company preaches (there’s the shameless plug you’ve all been waiting for):
- Reframing can bring added relevance to a brand that might be challenged by new competitors sneaking in from adjacencies, thereby increasing the ROI of marketing and communications activity.
- Also, reframed brands tend to move up the benefit ladder and this produces messaging strategies and content areas more conducive to the digital age i.e. providing utility, a shared purpose, a cause to champion, an information gap – all worthy of tactics larger than just ads.
- Reframing a brand also produces a treasure trove of new creative ideas. In this article that’s depicted in a creative execution where the paperboy throws something towards the house, only to reveal he threw an iPad. Well you get the idea.
- Also, the other benefit of reframing is it also produces ideas often spanning the other areas of business outside of marketing. I love when this happens because I am a true believer that marketing’s time to reclaim its role as the most important function in a company is now. The example in this article was providing reporters with, as they call it, a Mojo kit.
In addition, Pioneer has invested in new formats to deliver the news. The Chronicle equips reporters with “MoJo” kits that allow them to carry a laptop, digital camera, video, and audio recorders so they can bring readers breaking news and live blogs. The Tribune launched HTML5 websites for readers who prefer a tablet-based experience. Advertising representatives are also given tablets to take to meetings with clients to showcase online and mobile offerings.
Of course there are other great examples of brands that have reframed and produced significant disruptive innovation in their space. Some of those being: IBM, Dove, several P&G brands, Adidas, etc.
The article is worth checking out. It’s a short read. And hopefully it’s a great step forward for an industry that’s done a great job of educating us all.
Send me an e-mail if you have any other great examples of brands that have reframed successfully or are interested in discussing how we’d approach this exercise on your brand.
- Strategic Questions for an Accelerating World (blogs.hbr.org)
- Differentiate your marketing strategy (vikypedia.in)
- Effective Digital Branding Measurement Requires a Mix of Metrics (bjconquest.com)