brand boil down

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Have you ever wondered how the men and women who do financial reporting write headlines for daily stock market results? On in today’s NYT read “Tech and Health Care Firms Lean Broad Rally.”  Some of it is pretty easy: They look at the big winners and losers and simply declaim.  It’s data centric.

When less clear cut they need to put on analytical thinking caps, telling us how various market factors impacted buying and selling. Housing starts. Fed reports on interest rates. Impending wars.  This approach relies on implications and deductions about data and facts.  But what happens when the data is contradictory? How do they come up with a headline?  That’s what master brand planning is.  (Master brand planning drives all brand activities; not just daily marketing and communications tactics.)

Master brand strategy is never clean and tidy.  There are always scads of factors. Lots of data. Lots of targets. Everything has to go into the stock pot for the brand boil down.  Headline writers have a half day to write financial report ledes. Brand planners don’t have that luxury. We have to write a headline that encapsulates past, current and future value and our deadline is presentation day. I sometime envy reporters with more exact deadlines.

Peace.

 

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Positioning Roulette

I came across a brand position tool today called Positioning Roulette. It’s a lovely (sometimes I like to sound British) business idea by a couple of commercially minded planners Ulli Appelbaum and Vincent Schmidlin. Designed to make brand discovery easier. it comprises 29 questions, many with multiple parts, that when answered will give the strategy runner enough information to make smart brand strategy decisions. And ultimately lead one to the strategy itself.

I love this thinking. Positioning Roulette is complex, a bit like DNA mapping, and will certainly provide enough grist to build a brand idea.  And even more fun, especially for DIYers, they’ve productized the idea into flashcards which you can buy on the web.

I’m not sure I’d use the word roulette in the name as it feels very game-of-chancey, but let’s not fuss. Frankly, that’s the point of this post. It is game of chance. With 29 brand related outputs, how do you build the idea?  Ahhh, that’s why you need the experts. It’s the cull-through or what I call the boil-down that’s the hard work. This tool or tool kit will make that very obvious to those in need of brand strategy help. Don’t try this at home. Brilliant execution. Smart men.

Peace.

 

 

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The boil down is what happens in my brand planning rigor after I feel I’ve collected enough data and information. Lately, I’ve been using Microsoft OneNote, to capture all the market info and links  — a cool tool. When the boil down begins I am looking for proof and patterns.

I was reading an Op-Ed piece about Egypt yesterday and came across two pieces of proof that set me off onto insights – which lead to strategy. These two proofs were the increase in sale of police dogs to citizens and skyrocketing tour guide unemployment.   Lawlessness and fear emerge as problematic outcomes of the unrest in Egypt. Proof informing strategy.

Good planners look to brand strategy that offers both claim and proof.  Too much strategy today is all claim, little proof. Too much marketing, the same. And 90% of advertising is all claim, no proof. Ground up brand planning starts with collection of product strengths, consumer insights, competitive pressures, cultural biases and proclivities, and a deep search for insights and proof. Find the right proof and you are free to move about the brand craft. Peace.

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