Beerside Chat > ZAG

Beerside Chat > ZAG

At our latest TWB Book Club Beerside chat, we discussed ZAG: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier. This book is about differentiation and finding the things about your brand, product or project that set it apart from the clutter.

My favorite takeaway was about crafting your purpose statement. This helps you to better understand what makes your brand or product truly different. All communications and ideas must connect back to this statement -- or they don’t work. There is a simple way to approach this:

Fill in these blanks: “My brand is the only _______ that ________.”

For example, Cirque du Soleil is the only circus that combines acrobatics with theatre.

But I prefer the version with more details. Here, six components must be defined:

  • What: the only (category)
  • How: that (differentiation characteristic)
  • Who: for (customer)
  • Where: in (market geography)
  • Why: who (customer need statement)
  • When: during (underlying trend)

For example, one for the Harley Davidson company is:

  • What: the only motorcycle manufacturer
  • How: that makes big, loud motorcycles
  • Who: for macho guys (and “macho wannabees”)
  • Where: mostly in the United States
  • Why: who want to join a gang of cowboys
  • When: in an era of decreasing personal freedom

I think this is something anyone can craft – strategist or not. McCanners can take away a lot from ZAG and the hope is that we try out these strategies with our teams!

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