Writing a concept statement in the business world is like, well, turning the ignition key in a car. It gets everything started.
The tricky part is that while you would tend to believe there is an accepted universal way of writing a concept statement … there isn’t. Every business place has their own version (or at least it seems so). What a bunch of wasted energy.
You end up spending so much time debating how to actually write the stupid thing you are too tired to invest the energy in the proper place … the thinking & writing of the statement itself.
That said … here is the best description of concept statement I have ever encountered (from the P&G marketing wizards). It isn’t, and shouldn’t be, brain surgery. Maybe that is what makes this definition so effective.
The following is a description of a concept statement founded in traditional P&G discipline.
A concept describes a product, service or brand and how it will improve a consumer’s life. A concept statement answers:
· Who is it for?
· How does it fit into their life?
· What will it do for them?
· Why should they believe you?
The concept is developed because through it, we can learn the best way to communicate an idea to the consumer, understand the idea’s importance to consumers, and determine the commercial viability of the idea.
The concept is part of the foundation for the brand. Along with the brand character, it contains key elements that are translated into a creative brief and a copy strategy. This consistent message is used across all forms of marketing communications—direct marketing, catalogues, television advertising, merchandising etc.
There are typically three parts to a concept
Accepted Consumer Belief (ACB) – “You understand me”
The ACB is a statement that expresses the target consumer’s frustration of an unmet need. The ACB should create a context or perspective for the rest of the concept (the benefit and RTB). It acknowledges the consumer’s point of view with understanding and empathy. Insights are gained into why the consumer does what she/he does.
- Developing the ACBs is done through primary and secondary research, field work— store visits, home visits, and studying habits and practices, (attitudes, and needs and wants).
Examples of ACBs:
- Dyed hair doesn’t look natural.
- Stopping for gas takes too much time and interrupts my trip.
- Soap dries my skin.
Benefit –“What’s in it for me?”
The benefit statement is a promise which answers the question: “What’s in it for me?” The benefit fulfills the consumer need or want that was described in the ACB. Benefits can be tangible or emotional. They make the consumer’s life better and should be single-minded (more than one benefit in a concept can be confusing to consumers and is difficult to execute advertising against).
The benefit should be competitively distinct and important to the target customer.
Examples of benefits:
- Crest™ makes dental checkups easier.
- No more embarrassing static cling with Bounce™.
- Have it your way at Burger King™.
Reason to Believe (RTB) – “Why should I believe you?”
The RTB provides permission for consumers to believe that the benefit will be delivered. It answers the question: “Why should I believe it?” The RTB can be a feature (unique ingredient or special process) or an endorsement. The brand equity also contributes to the RTB.
Examples of RTBs:
- Pantene’s™ special vitamin
- Tylenol’s™ hospital endorsement
- Volvo’s™ car crash demonstrations