P&G pioneered the use of a Concept Statement and uses them to deliver a seemingly endless stream of successful products into the marketplace. Many larger companies also use Concept Statements because they are a simple and effective way of ensuring that you and the consumer are aligned.
A concept describes a product, service or brand and how it will improve a consumer’s life. In short, it forces you to think about your product and service through the eyes of the customer – not a bad discipline.
So what is a concept statement?
The concept statement answers several very basic questions:
- Who is it for and How does it fit into their life?
- What will it do for them and Why should they believe you?
There are three basic components
- the accepted “Consumer” belief
- a single minded statement of Benefit
- supporting reasons to believe
Accepted “Consumer” Belief
This should create a context or perspective for the rest of the concept (the Single Minded Statement of Benefit and Reason to Believe) acknowledging the customer’s point of view with understanding and empathy. Having them believe “You understand me”. If you were describing the pain / the problem to a group of your customers you should be getting nods. Put simply, it is the rasion d’etre for the product or service.
Single Minded Statement of Benefit
The benefit statement is a promise which answers the question. “What’s in it for me?” It fulfils the customer need or want. Benefit statements can be tangible or emotional. But must hold the promise of making the customer’s life better and should be single-minded (do not use the words and / or).
Reasons to Believe
We are a suspicious lot so the benefit statement must be supported with other key information answering the (unspoken) question. “Why should I believe you?” You need to provide permission for customers to believe that the benefit will be delivered and their pain or problem resolved. It can be a feature (unique ingredient) or special process, or an endorsement. Brand equity also contributes.
Many companies use Concept Statements to help guide their product development. Others use them to crystallise their marketing messages. In both cases their use brings clarity of thinking. Whilst the big boys use their resources to do expensive market research, this simple discipline need not be expensive. But be warned though, done properly it does test the little grey cells!