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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Anatomy of your brand

In his feature Dissecting the anatomy of your brand, Kevin talks about ways to add value to your product. Now apply that thinking…

Your brand is a manifestation of the tangible attributes of your product or service – rational and physical – to the emotional associations and connections made by the customer. Articulating and translating your brand into some form of meaningful framework can be challenging, but necessary when you are seeking creative agencies to portray your product in a differentiated manner.

Developing a brand pyramid is one way to enable the marketer to structure his thoughts and consider the product through the customer's eyes. It is also very useful in helping to define the core communication messages, as well as a useful check to ensure that your product is differentiated from the competition.

The brand pyramid construction has five stages, with each subsequent stage based upon the preceding information. The most rational of these sits at the bottom of the pyramid and the emotional attributes towards the top.


First, at the bottom of the pyramid, list out the product attributes. These must be real, tangible and deliverable. Focus on elements that are differentiated from those of your competitors.


This second tier up is the first stage where you start to consider the product deliverables from a customer perspective. Benefits should be authentic – and those that match your customers' wants and needs. Resist the temptation to make up or invent benefits. It is important that you understand how your product meets the demands and expectations of your customer.


We are now in the mind of the customer with a full appreciation of the benefits that your product and service will deliver to him. Value associations are the intangible manifestations in how the customer values and feels about those benefits.

For example, it might be that the benefits enable the customer to feel more professional or competent? Sometimes he may feel more confident in his choices or simply happy and content that an unmet need has now been met.

A useful check is to ask how would the customer feel if that product or service was withdrawn?


The value associations evoke a series of emotional responses that relates to a person's disposition to the brand against the context of personal, social and cultural values. These feelings are often framed in the context of someone or something. Sometimes this can be positive, dynamic or in some instances negative. A useful point of reference is to consider the collective experiences and associations as a person. How would that person be described?


Right at the top of your pyramid and very much in the emotional bracket is the essence of the brand, which is a distillation of the sum total of attributes, benefits, value associations and personality. It is a concise statement of the brand promise and what that brand stands for.

Once completed, share this construction with your creative agency. The outputs will help inform the overall 'tone of voice' adopted by the creative communication and will assist the copywriter in developing your key messages.





Are your product attributes tangible, deliverable and differentiated from your competitors?

Are your product benefits real, authentic and matching the needs of your customer?

Does your customer insight enable you to recognise the value associations placed against your product, brand or service?

Do you know how your customers currently perceive your brand? For example, Hero, Pioneer, Dependable, Thief.

Can you concisely articulate your brand promise in five words or less?


Article by
Kevin McGetrick

creative brand consultant. He can be contacted at or on +44 (0)7774 813307

13th April 2012

From: Marketing



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