brand planning process

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Inside every huge piece of stone is a beautiful sculpture.  Or not.  Upon every blueprint is an architect’s rendering of an amazing building. Or not. On every canvas… okay, you get the idea.

It’s the same way with brand planning.  Any knucklehead with a pencil or keyboard can ask executives, customers and thought-leaders questions. Anyone can fill up a OneNote document (cool Microsoft product) with lots of words, links, quotes and data.  But what makes a great brand plan is what is left at the end.  And how it is organized and integrated. And what can be acted upon for the good of the brand. 

I call this process the boil down.  I like to cook and the metaphor about making a rich sauce through the reduction process works for me.  No matter what you name your process, when going from the massive (discovery) to the reduced and pungent, it is the final product that makes the successful brand planner. Branding is an organizing principle. Most CEOs, CFOs and CMOs know what makes a brand tick; they just can’t always decipher or decode the promise. Not in words consumers can hold dear. Or that employees can understand and live by.  But when a brand planner presents the boil down to C-level execs and sees that sparkle in their eyes — the sculpture is done. And properly conveyed and packaged a brand plan can work for consumers and employees.  This isn’t like approving an ad campaign, this is business strategy… in poetry.  Peace



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I was talking with some entrepreneurs yesterday who have a great product.  It shows well when demoed, people who buy it love it and the product has great sales opportunity through both push (channel) and pull (consumer demand) marketing.

We’re discussing targeting and I am using the bull’s eye metaphor with the whole radiating concentric circle schpeel. The inner ring is the most important target, the second target more populous and very influential, the third circle important, but more expensive to reach, etc. Nod, nod. I’m riffing on each target and getting pumped knowing there are lots of ways to covey and convince, landing big arrows in each target ring. The guys are feeling me.

I know I can fix the product Is-Does because the name is so descriptive. It’s a touch misleading but still kills the competition. The product fills a need in every home though only purchased every few years.  No brand has top-of-mind awareness. And with the economy what it is, the do-it-yourselfer (DIY) crowd is looking for the solution in what Google Insights for Search calls breakout fashion. “We know, we know.”

With a good “Is-Does” and descriptive name all that is needed is a strong brand idea that speaks to each ring of the target. To get to that idea I need to spend enough time with each ring understanding their care-abouts, concerns, how they derive pride and a few other things. All that goes into the “What’s the Idea” stock pot ready for the boil down.  This is brand planning product development.  Will it happen with my entrepreneurs? Will they invest in an idea? Stay tuned.

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