FINDING TRUE NORTH
the “answer” is not just a comfortable ﬁt, but that it will offer signiﬁcant and sustainable differentiation in the marketplace. Young & Rubicam’s BrandAsset Valuator model and database show that relevant differentiation is the “brand engine”—the quality that keeps a brand vital and strong. In today’s cluttered marketplace, brands that feel undifferentiated fall to commodity status, and by default, price becomes the consumer’s primary criterion for choosing. To begin to assess whether the archetype provides a basis for your brand’s uniqueness, examine the competitive set in terms of archetypal meaning: ●
Have any brands stumbled into archetypal territory? If so, which archetypes? Are any clearly related to the archetype most suited to your brand? How well are the competitors supporting and living up to their archetypes? At what level are the competitors expressing the archetype? Is there an opportunity to move to a deeper, more relevant, or differentiating level? Is everyone in the category expressing the same one or two archetypes? Is there an opportunity for a truly new archetype in the category?
For example, when coffee brands were all variations of the Caregiver, General Foods’ line of ﬂavored European-style instant coffees offered an Explorer identity that presented consumers with an exciting new way to experience the beverage. More recently and more successfully, Starbucks did the same thing. Often, as will be discussed in a later chapter, the leading brand in a category comes to own the dominant “category archetype” (e.g., Ivory has “branded” the deep, archetypal meaning of cleansing). If the leader is doing that, and is doing it well, differentiation can be created from some other secondary or perhaps altogether new category archetype. For example, in contrast to Ivory’s Innocent identity, Dove is more of a Caregiver brand, which is linked to the fact that Dove has emollients that Ivory does not have and therefore “nurtures” the skin. The category leader also sometimes presents the opportunity for