From McLaren to Ocado and Eurostar to Wimbledon, every brand (even the most established and successful ones) needs a Clear Defendable Territory to survive and thrive.
So, what is Clear Defendable Territory?
Simply put, Clear Defendable Territory is a clear space in the market that creates valuably different meaning in the minds of the people who matter most - internally and externally. A space that is uniquely theirs, reflecting who they are and where they came from while turbocharging their future ambition and aspiration. When done with conviction, it promises to deliver the utopia every brand craves.
Never forget that brands are a conduit for commercial strategy – not vice versa. When defining Clear Defendable Territory for clients, we look inside organisations to understand their strategy and culture and take an external view to comprehend the competitive context and customer needs. Using a combination of insight and foresight we’re able to create a shared vision of the future that organisations, their people, stakeholders, and customers can buy into and get behind.
Defining your Clear Defendable Territory is easy; delivering it is where the real challenge begins. There are four key components to delivering Clear Defendable Territory: strategy, engagement, innovation and creativity.
The four key components to delivering Clear Defendable Territory
1. Start with a solid strategy: Successful brands don’t live in strategy papers, decks or guidelines. Nor do they fit neatly into onions, pyramids, temples, or key-shaped models. They are built from deep insights and informed by commercial strategy. Every brand positioning should be as unique as your fingerprint.
The most compelling strategies have powerful narratives that express a distinct point of view and a meaningful role they play in the world. And – if you want people to remember and embed it into the way they work – less always is more.
2. Consider engagement: When articulating Clear Defendable Territory, we find it helpful to include a brand belief, purpose, narrative, promise and values. And while it's essential to tell a complete and compelling story for those tasked with delivering the brand, internally and amongst your agency partners, it's unrealistic to expect colleagues to recall the entire brand positioning.
That’s why the brands we create have three values – because people can always remember three things. We also find that when you combine rational, emotional, and aspirational values, you create a well-rounded and distinctive personality for your brand – with plenty of stretch.
Alongside these values, the promise plays a crucial role in delivering Clear Defendable Territory. The promise must capture the essence of the positioning in just a few words. Always aspirational, actionable, and limitless, the promise provides a memorable shorthand for the brand that directs colleagues and motivates customers and team members alike.
Giving people fewer things to remember, in our experience, certainly improves your chances of success.
3. Be innovative: While Clear Defendable Territory is a proven catalyst for change within organisations, without tangible symbols of change to substantiate the new positioning, delivering a significant uplift in commercial performance is unlikely.
We develop brand signatures as an integral part of our approach, hosting innovation workshops to define these symbols of change that embody the brand positioning and drive a greater point of difference. From product upgrades and new service experiences to HR initiatives and tools that make colleagues' lives easier.
For example, when we relaunched Fitness First, which was saved from administration, it was essential to drive reappraisal of the brand. Overhauling everything but the name, we signalled this change through new training formats, uniforms that looked sharp, a new onboarding process and motivating technology inside the clubs; simultaneously building differentiation while substantiating the new brand positioning and Clear Defendable Territory.
4. Take creative leaps: In general, people hate change – it's the most challenging aspect of our work. For all our strategising, engaging, and innovating, the most powerful tool within our armoury is creativity. People want to take pride in the organisation they work for and feel that their contribution to life is worthwhile. Clear Defendable Territory enables organisations to make the creative leaps and inspire their people in ways they would otherwise struggle to achieve.
Employing almost as many writers as we do designers, we deliver tangible creative visions for our clients' brands that motivate colleagues to be part of a shared future. In today's omnichannel world, brands must stretch across markets, categories, audiences, and channels like never before. So whilst every brand needs a robust and recognisable core, today they also require unapparelled level of flexibility. It’s the only way to create a truly killer brand in today’s world.
So, when we step back, Clear Defendable Territory defines the centre of gravity for brands and offers brand owners the flexibility they require to adapt to change, remain relevant and continue to thrive.
Even the most established brands of today need this to make sure they adapt, stay relevant, continue to grow loyalty and thrive in the future. It doesn’t have to be a utopian concept, carving out a clear space in the market that is valuably different is a real, achievable goal.