How We Thought of "The Thought That Counts"

GiftYa branding strategy behind "The thought that counts"

Developing a brand positioning and its positioning statement or tagline requires research, analysis, insightful thinking and creative development. Often in their early days, taglines like “Just do it” or “Think different” may seem a bit empty or meaningless. After we’ve been exposed to them and learned their meaning, we’ve come to embrace them as part of our culture and understand what they stand for and why they resonate with us.

The main recipe for success is that the statement meets two key criteria. It is culturally relevant and current, which means it resonates with the target audience and current cultural trends. And your product and product experience can deliver a tangible benefit related to it. Some brands make the mistake of shooting for the stars when they can barely reach the moon. This will eventually deliver an empty promise at best, or a deceitful message at worst. I once had a meeting with a large internet service provider with a big plaque on their building entrance claiming to be “the cheapest, fastest, easiest way to access the internet.” They were actually one of the few companies that charged for an otherwise free service, the slowest in the market, and more complicated than most. Their message was culturally relevant, but way off on the tangible deliverables front. Likewise, if you make a powerful and credible product benefit claim, but it doesn’t have cultural resonance, you’ll hear a lot of yawning. 

When it came to GiftYa, we considered several factors: competitive claims, the key emotional and practical variables that come into play when buying a gift, industry trends, cultural trends, our target audience, product benefits, customer experience, etc. 

At GiftYa, we’re breaking new ground, which is always a challenge. We are reinventing the way people give gifts, based largely on the successful model of gift cards and e-gift cards. Gift cards have become America’s favorite gift, as proven by dozens of surveys throughout the years. Yet, much as recipients love to get them, because they can choose what to buy with them, gift givers often dread them because they feel so impersonal. Even if your buddy is a big handyman, a gift card to a hardware store will still hardly feel like a personal gift.

To find cultural relevance, we researched back into the origins of gifting and fast forwarded to where gifting is today. Gifting dates back to Neanderthal times, when tribes would gift each other artifacts as a way of connecting through appreciation. A gift succeeds when it makes a strong connection between two people, making both giver and recipient equally happy. 

Throughout the years, and to this date - i.e. cultural relevance and currency - gifting has been ‘corrupted’ by a number of less noble intentions: trying to impress, meet an obligation or trying to manipulate someone; hardly the original intent. This most often results in a non-connection, making both giver and recipient feel disconnected. At best, the giver feels an empty feeling of “I tried my best,” and the recipient feels the equally empty feeling of “I guess it’s the thought that counts.” The worst case scenario can get much uglier than that.

In addition, we looked at our target audience: millennials. They are tech savvy, mobile friendly, time starved, brand skeptical and all about authenticity. Both gift givers and recipients want a fast, easy tool that can deliver a gift with meaning and not just good intentions, and that will connect them. 

From these hypotheses we built a matrix of cultural relevance on one axis and tangible benefits on the other. And we plotted many variables across the matrix to uncover the sweet spot between the two axes. The sweet spot, it turned out, was the junction of the preferred medium that could deliver the best possible experience. Put differently, for the gift giver an intuitive, easy to use mobile app that would be able to deliver a thoughtful gift that would connect the two parties. For the recipient, an intuitive, easy to use gift that would have a personal meaning and deliver that connection,

How so?  How can GiftYa deliver on this culturally relevant promise? If Kyle, living in California, knows his best college friend, Nancy, is into tattoos and has her favorite tattoo parlor in a Columbus, OH neighborhood, he can go to GiftYa and deliver a very personal gift. Something that will let her know he thought of her and her personal interests. Not just a tattoo parlor, but her favorite tattoo parlor. And he can do this from the convenience of his smartphone, a couple of thousand miles away. This is a gift that will resonate with both. Kyle will feel he put a lot of thought behind it, thinking of the smile on her face when she gets it. Nancy will rejoice on her gift, make her think about the next tattoo design, and feel so thankful Kyle sent her a gift that truly and authentically resonated with her. Because she knows he put thoughtfulness behind it. And because she will truly appreciate the gift.

So now we’re facing the challenge of how to communicate this connection creatively with an intuitive message that can deliver that feeling. We decided to take a subtle negative cliche and turn it into a positive, which is often a winning formula, if you can pull it off. When the gifting connection is missed, the natural reaction is “I guess it’s the thought that counts.” GiftYa being able to deliver strongly on the connection makes it actually “The thought that counts.” Because now both gift giver and recipient authentically feel the gift is indeed the thought that actually counted. Ultimately, GiftYa is “the thought that counts.”

Written by Carlos Tribino, CMO

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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