Sunday, June 29, 2008

Deconstruction – Good

Deconstruction is not automatically bad (he said, continuing the thought experiment from yesterday’s post).

When should you deconstruct? How about when the brand (or the entire system) has become so unbelievably complex that it’s way past time the brand returned to its basics.

You know what I’m talking about. Think about the brand-name string that sounds like a trunk falling down the stairs. Car-makers are notorious for this; e.g., the Audi A6 Avant Quattro SE Sport 2.5 Tdi.

Talk a walk down the grocery aisles and take a look at the brand extensions…messages growing ever more crowded. Drug stores exhibit the same aggressive shouting matches among shelves full of products. Then, consider that I couldn’t create a better post than Creativity magazine (May 2008, Page 32) has already been written about Help Remedies:

Help Remedies, a refreshingly pared down new line of acetaminophen pills and adhesive bandages, provides a lesson for even the most established marketers: Reimagine what you’re selling, not just how you’re selling it.

A former brand development strategist from London, Richard Fine, came to the US from London and brought a hell of a headache with him. According to Creativity, he was:

…scared off by the chaotic, screaming products….He envisioned a softer, calm-looking option sans abrasive color schemes and shocking copy.

His vision, with help from packaging and graphic design firms (ChappsMalina and Little Fury, respectively), resulted in a new brand by deconstructing old-fashioned ones. The result is simplicity itself, and help I have a headacheTM is one of the brand’s products.

In fact, the entire company – and you can browse the website to your heart’s content – is constructed with this simplicity in mind. Another product: help I’ve cut myselfTM contains two sizes of bandages (and advanced eye relief) for the weary shopper who may have just suffered an injury.

I’d certainly highlight the new brand’s Web 2.0 features, like the simple approach to the Help company blog and the online store.

What Creativity called reimaging I would call deconstruction. True, in the case of Help Remedies, Fine and his colleagues have deconstructed an entire category (over- the-counter healthcare products). When your brand is heavy-laden, when it’s dragging its entire history of massive product/service slates and M&As through the first decade of the 21st Century, this is a good time to return to basics.

Deconstruct what the brand is all about and reimagine it in a simpler, more meaningful form.

Can you do that for your stakeholders? Would you make their lives and their connections to your brand cleaner and more direct? Among the benefits could be a clear, clean view of your business model as well as your brand – supposing, of course, that your company’s business model needs…help.

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