brand planning discovery

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When I interview people at a company to learn more about it during my discovery process I have a set piece of questions. If working in a category with which I’m unfamiliar I often create a new questions to level set me. Learning the language of the category is an important first step. Before I start questioning I tell the interviewee to please tell stories to make your point. It helps me better and more quickly understand. Stories provide texture, importance and ballast from the teller’s point of view.  Data and information are just tracks to be trod over. Data and information are the CV of the business. Important and crucial stuff yes, but they don’t reveal “soul” the way stories do.

I never closed a deal during a brand strategy without stories. Never. If you have stories, when presenting to decision-makers, you are a brother/sister. People don’t have a hard time disagreeing with you if you have a story. They’ve more open and real in their objection…often sharing a contrary story.

I loves me some data in brand planning. But stories feed the brief. They give heart to the claim and proof planks.

Peace.

 

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geotech

Mining is actually a good brand planning analogy. During the planning process where one combs research and interviews stakeholders and consumers planners are searching for nuggets of ore. Ore that might direct one to a vein or the mother lode. In my planning rigor, my ore is proof. Examples of acts. Facts. Actions. It’s ironic that while searching for proof, I don’t know yet know the claim. In my consultancy a brand strategy consists of 1 claim and 3 proof planks. At this stage, I’m nugget hunting.

(Just to level set, here are examples of things that are not proof: exception care, innovative design, tailored-to-meet-your-needs. These fall into the area of claim; and as claims they are a little wan. A little over used.)

Discovery in brand planning is listening, watching, paying attention to detail – almost being a human Galvinic Skin Response test – then categorizing the proof into clusters. It may sounds a little backwards, hunting for proof before identifying the claim, but it’s not. People can tell stories about proof. People light up citing proof. People are reticent, however, when it comes to claim. Reticent because it sounds like bragging. Because it is not always true.

Mine for proof first and your plan will have a stable foundation. Peace. 

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