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Master and Commandee.

Last night at Google Firestarters, Chet Gulland, head of strategy at Droga5 NY, mentioned “1 idea, 50 briefs.” For another Droga brand he spoke of 30 briefs. (The topic of the event, as you might imagine, was the brief.) The brief is what keeps agency planning departments in business. Each project should have a brief. It should outline the task, opportunity, problem and provide a solution spark. The more insightful and powerful these briefs, the better the work…so goes the logic.

An undercurrent at Firestarter and an undercurrent about briefs in general (check out this exceptional video) is that briefs are better seen not heard. Shorter is better. Problem-focus is important. Agile and open are also key.  One panelist, in fact, suggested no brief is the best brief – but he was from a product development/innovation company.

I completely agree with Mr. Gulland though I might word it a little differently. One brand brief, 50 creative briefs. At What’s The Idea?, the idea (claim) is the brand strategy. It is supported by 3 proof planks. Any creative brief, developed by any cohort, must be on idea. The actions, experiences and programs used to generate sales, guided by individual creative briefs, should all celebrate the idea (claim) and support one of the proof planks. Claim and proof.

The brand brief and the many creative briefs it sires will keep planners busy for years to come.

Thanks to Google, Ben Malbon and Abigail Posner for another wonderful event. Eliza Esquivel of Mondelez was exceptional too.

Peace.

 

 

 

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I attended Google Firestarters last night in NYC (thanks Ben Malbon), the topic of which was “constraints” and how they can fuel business and marketing improvements. Speakers included Adam Morgan (Eat Big Fish) and Mark Barden (ex-Guinness) co-authors of the smart new book A Beautiful Constraint. Firestarter panel 012215 In the morning I spoke at a great small business panel sponsored by Teacher Federal Credit Union on the topic of “Return on Strategy.”  One of my business constraints is that I’m a self-taught brand planner. Ada Alpert and other brand planning recruiters won’t touch me because I don’t come out of a traditional brand planning shop. I’ve also not been schooled by a member of the British Mafia. To overcome this constraint I’ve had to study hard from afar, creating my own syllabus and curriculum.

Return on Strategy is one of my self-taught tools. Here’s how it works: Measure your brand strategy (not tactics) and see if adherence puts more money in the bank. Period.

An example: Years ago, AT&T Business Communications Services knew if consumers 1. felt price was within 10% of its closest competitor, 2. believed they had a more reliable network and 3. provided innovative tools to help businesses grow, market share would grow. These became the 3 legs of the strategy. Perception of these things is what we measured through tracking research. So long as we maintained advantage in all three areas AT&T added customers. If we slipped in one area, we started losing customers. Gotta love science.

For my clients the search is all about finding the three key business-building strategies that help grow business. I call them proof planks. When I find the planks I help clients build and manage them. I also make sure they measure adherence and tie it to business gains. You have now attended What’s the Idea? 101. Peace.

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Google Brand.

Ya gotta love Google.  These guys get branding.  (That’s why they use BBH for advertising, projects and counsel.) I’ve been blogging about the Google brand strategy — first articulated by Sergei Brin — for years.  Their clam is “The world’s information in one click.”  Today, even Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside (Moto is a Google subsidiary), was singing off the same hymn sheet.  Said Mr. Woodside in the NYT “Google’s mission is to organize all the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”   He continued “For Motorola, one of the things we’re trying to do is create a very high-quality mobile Internet experience over time for hundreds of millions of peoples.”  That’s a tight brand strategy. And scalable. Create a claim and productize the proof.

Granted, self-driving cars, one of Google’s pet projects, are not proof of the world’s information in one click.  But do they facilitate the claim? You can’t search while driving. Hee hee. Google has Labs (hey Ben Malbon) and dabbles in many things, so we can’t say for sure that it will make money the same way 100 years out, but for now they understand strategy, what people want, and what they are good at.

One thought though…right now Google searches for websites. That’s where searches resolve. But some of the cooler things these days shooting over the web are not websites — they are apps, messages, pics and vids. That’s something worth thinking about. Peace.  

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