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This paper won the WPP Atticus Award 2006 for original published thinking in marketing services in the Branding and Identity category.
Abstract: Traditional approaches to brand-building dictate that success in branding can only result from communicating a single differentiating claim (or promise) with exceptional clarity and unwavering consistency. Hence, brands have been built on the back of single-minded propositions that remained fixed and unchanging through successive cycles of advertising and promotions. This whitepaper argues that the above model of brand positioning is an artifact of an old mass media order in which scarcity was the overriding norm. Media fragmentation and digital media are now offering brand practitioners an expansive choice of touch points, and in the process altering the very fundamentals of marketing and strategic brand management. This paper presents the case for building brands by communicating every credible brand proposition - not just one chosen 'hit' - in relevant and profitable contexts, to different consumer segments. It also outlines 8 concrete ways for marketers and advertising agencies to harness the power of the long tail in brand communication - reaping complex, layered and engaging brands without sacrificing clarity or simplicity in advertising.