The semiotician Virginia Valentine used to talk about ‘Not-ness’. It’s an incredibly useful concept to use when thinking about brands.
You need to understand what a brand is not, as well as what it is.
A brand needs to reject as much as it accepts in order to be focussed.
So always work out what your brand should not be as well as what it should.
And the principle extends to consumer behaviour:
Certain brands are bought as much because of what they are not, than because of what they are (M&S men’s clothing? It’s NOT frighteningly trendy, or Audi? It’s not BMW).
Mark Earls has developed a brilliant model to analyse how people make decisions.
Are they copying other people or making the decisions on their own?
Is their copying directed? Following an expert / a celebrity.
Or undirected? Following the herd..
Are they making the decision using thought-through rational processes? Or on the hoof?
Check out I’ll have what she’s having: mapping social behaviour to find out more.
Founder at The Nursery