“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want to buy a quarter-inch hole!” -Theodore Levitt
This quote has become something of a rallying cry for marketers. We don’t want to just push our features; we want to market to our customers’ results.
However, Levitt’s quote is from the 1960s and companies are still falling short when it comes to focusing on customer jobs to be done.
Even though jobs-to-be-done framework is primarily focused on product development, marketers should apply it to their branding exercises.
A Simplified Explanation of the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework
Clayton Christensen’s original discussion about jobs to be done was published in 2006. His main argument was that marketers need to spend less time focusing on demographics and more time working out the jobs customers want to do.
To simplify the discussion, let’s break down the milkshake example Christensen uses. To improve the sales of McDonald’s milkshakes, marketers had two high-level options.
First, they could improve the product by conducting research into the segment of customers that frequently purchase milkshakes. Researchers asked customers if any particular improvements would make them purchase more milkshakes-thicker, more flavor, larger straws, etc.
Or, they could improve the product by drilling down on the jobs customers wanted to do. Researching surges in milkshake sales in the mornings and afternoons uncovered different jobs and helped marketers make changes to best suit them.
You can get the full story from the publication, but the point is this-focusing on improvements to product attributes for wide customer segments resulted in an average, one-size-fits-none product. With the jobs-to-be-done mindset, sales improved because the company was able to deliver milkshakes that fit into specific needs.
While this approach to product development is essential to business success, it’s no longer enough on its own. Without strong branding to back up the product, businesses will lose out to competitors.
Luckily, the same Jobs-to-be-Done Framework that derives from the McDonald’s experiment can be used to strengthen your branding.
The 8-Point Framework to Help Find Brand Positioning
From a branding perspective, the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework is best-suited to help you nail down your positioning statement. Even though positioning statements are fairly simple in theory, they can often feel too abstract. This framework can help make the process of building your positioning statement more concrete.
Consider the 8 phases of the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework and think about where your brand (not just your product and its features) fits in:
- Define: The goal-setting and resource-planning phase
- Locate: Where customers collect what’s needed to do the job
- Prepare: Setting up for the job to be done
- Confirm: Verification that customers have what they need for the job
- Execute: Actually doing the job
- Monitor: The confirmation that jobs have been done successfully
- Modify: Improving execution after the fact
- Conclude: Finish the job
At each stage of the framework that applies, marketers should consider how their product delivers innovation for the job. And when done well, these insights should align perfectly with the brand positioning process.
Once you have a clear understanding of the job being done through your brand, you’re well on your way to locking down a positioning statement. But positioning statements are still just a small part of the overall branding picture.
If you want to learn more about how you can build a brand that lasts, check out The Ultimate Guide to Brand Development.