Non-Functional Benefits — Precision Positioning

Many Brands are missing an opportunity to define the non-functional aspects of a Brand’s positioning more deliberately and precisely.  Capturing the following basic positioning elements is standard fare:  Promise, Points-of-Difference, Points-of-Parity, Personality.  Brands are also increasingly articulating a Purpose and underlying Values. 

Some go the extra step of distinguishing between Functional and Emotional Benefits.  The term “Emotional Benefits” is often used synonymously with “Non-Functional Benefits”.  This distinction between “Functional” and “Emotional” (meaning non-functional) is helpful, but insufficient.  With mounting evidence that the Brand Building game is won or lost on non-functional considerations, shouldn’t more attention be paid to different types of non-functional benefits? 

  • Emotional: When I buy or use this Brand I feel _________ .
  • Self-Expressive: When I buy or use this brand, I am _________
  • When I buy or use this brand, the type of people I relate to are __________ .

I may feel secure in a Volvo, but a Lexus tells the world that I am successful.  When I play golf with a Titleist Pro V 1 ball, I can relate to some really good golfers.

Consider some of your favorite Brands.  What role do these different types of non-functional benefits play in your affinity for the Brand?  And how about the Brand(s) you steward?  What functional, emotional, self-expressive, and social benefits do you — or might you — deliver and communicate?  How would your consumers fill in the blanks on the above questions?  How would you like your consumers to fill in these blanks?  Are you sufficiently deliberate and precise in articulating the emotional, self-expressive, and/or social benefit associations you aspire to establish and then creating experiences that deliver?