At the heart of a great marketing story is usually a “single-minded proposition”, or SMP. The SMP sums up the most important thing you can say about the brand or product. It ignites creative briefs and serves as a rally cry for marketing communication.
Most single-minded propositions resemble a peace treaty more than a rally cry however. Marketers cram in every benefit that fits, leading to 80-word run-on sentences. Often the SMP is political, with different members of the brand team lobbying for different features. The easiest solution is just to tack them together with commas, semicolons, and “ands”.
The best single-minded proposition I’ve ever seen came with the original launch of the iPod. The SMP is not the same as a tagline, but in this case it’s both. When every other MP3 player at the time was talking about memory, price point, compatibility, interoperability, and a million other benefits at once, the iPod simply boasted, “1,000 songs in your pocket”.
The longer the SMP, the weaker the ideas that will result. The more we have to say in marketing, the less that people will listen. Deciding what not to communicate is more important than what to communicate. Great marketing starts with great editing.
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The problem with the single-minded proposition is: there is none.
Today 'the most important thing you can say about the brand or product' is mostly that it is "NEW" or that it offers a "20% PRICE OFF", as Thomas wrote in our column at German Wirtschaftswoche online.
Today products are generic at best. They try to reach everybody, so they combine everything 'essential' for the market, reaching (not to mention: enthusing) nobody any more.
For a great SMP brands would have to own a core, a meaning, distinction, true value, relevance. A long way to go (again) in this very short-sighted business economy.)
Tom is cartoonist and founder of Marketoonist, helping organizations communicate with cartoons. He draws from 16yrs of marketing, most recently as Marketing VP at method. He speaks about innovation, creativity, and marketing, using cartoons to visualize. @tomfishburne