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Finding a brand's emotional truth.

I had been scratching my head this past year wondering why Bud Light was touting "drinkability" as its new brand positioning.  It's an odd word for a beer, somehow very powerpointy.  This week the answer came into the light:  consultants.  According to Advertising Age, "drinkability" was the output of a consulting group hired by Anheuser-Busch.  

I fully embrace the clarifying power of one-word brand equities.  However, some strategic language should stay in the brand bullseye and not become the creative expression.   At least Coors Light bills itself as "refreshing", a word that makes me thirsty for a beer.

The consultant's explanation is that all brands need to be underpinned by an emotional and rational appeal, and that relying solely on an emotional message runs the risk of being replicated by competition.  That may be true in many categories, but I'm not sure this is true with beer.  And it is certainly not true if you take the time to peel back the layers of the brand to reveal its essential emotional truth – something that cannot be replicated.

Witness Dos Equis.  The campaign featuring "The most interesting man in the world" is purely emotional.  It taps into powerful archetypes and storytelling.  The campaign has contributed to double-digit sales growth.

So next time you're in a bar, you can order a beer that is drinkable, or a beer that makes you interesting.  Enough said.


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