“Brands are just like people”, says B7 Innovation founder Paul Tidmarsh. “They tell the world about themselves in much the same way that we do, they just use slightly different means:
• What they say and how they say it – advertising
• What they look like and the clothes they wear – packaging
• What job they do – the product
“So it makes sense when researching a new brand or re-focusing an existing one, that we show consumers a rounded 3D version of how it could be. This means using research stimulus that communicates the key features of the brand. Unfortunately,” says Paul Tidmarsh, “the concept statements and mood boards used in traditional qualitative research can’t do this. They’re unfamiliar and unrealistic, they lack emotion and they give an incomplete picture of how the brand could communicate in a holistic way. But at B7 Innovation, we believe that we’ve found a better way.”
“We create multiple expressions of how a brand could communicate, what we call ‘Brandcepts’”, says Paul Tidmarsh. “These consist of three types of stimulus: Adcepts, Packcepts and Productcepts that mimic how a brand would communicate its personality to consumers in the real world.
“The Adcepts are always the most important as we use these to explore what the brand could say and in what style. Showing consumers real creative stimulus and finding out why the strongest executions touch their hearts, makes the process of completing a brand positioning statement or communications brief for a new brand so much easier. It is almost as if the brand has made the successful change in direction and we are simply finding out the root of its appeal.
“Where packaging plays a critical part in a positioning,” says Tidmarsh, “we use ‘Packcepts’. These can vary from rough sketches to investigate format, to a 3D, highly finished mock up. This allows us to investigate aspects such as degree of modernity, how upmarket Vs. everyday, natural Vs. scientific etc.
“Productcepts are used to scope several innovation ideas. They are simple illustrations of potential products that the brand could launch. They consist of a rough colour illustration of the product or pack format and a short, simple, factual description devoid of hyperbole or attempts to sell.
Added together, these three aspects of the Brandcept give consumers a much richer understanding of what the brand could become, something much more helpful than concept statements and mood boards could ever provide. “Comparing Brandcepts with concept statements and mood boards,” says Paul Tidmarsh, “is like comparing a portrait with a stickman drawing.”